Takejiro Higa, born 1923 in Waipahu. He was sent to Okinawa at age two and returned to Hawai‘i at age 16 to avoid being drafted into the Japanese Army and attended Farrington High School. In 1943, he enlisted at age 20 and was part of the biggest class of 700 students to enter the MIS at Camp Savage, according to Henderson. He served in Leyte and Okinawa. He died in 2017 at age 94.

Nobuo Furuiye, born 1918 near Denver, Colorado. He was educated at Kyushu Gakuin in Kumamoto in 1938 and left after he graduated from high school to avoid being drafted into the Japanese Army. Furuiye worked on a family farm and Japa-

nese import store in Denver. He enlisted at age 24 on Jan. 16, 1942 and ordered to report to MIS in November 1942. Served in the Aleutians and Iwo Jima. He died in 2004 at age 86.

Grant Hirabayashi, born 1919 near Seattle, Washington. He was educated in Hotaka in Nagano Prefecture and Matsumoto beginning in 1932. He was one of two students recommended for appointment to the Imperial Japanese Academy (which was the equivalent to West Point or Annapolis) but found ineligible since he was not a Japanese citizen. He returned to the west coast and drafted at age 23 on Dec. 4, 1941. He joined the MIS in 1942 and served in Burma with Merrill’s Marauders and in China. Died in 2011 at age 91. (His cousin Gordon Hirabayashi was convicted for failing to obey the military curfew and the federal evacuation orders under Executive Order 9066 and whose case was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. He died in 2012 at age 93.)

Hiroshi Roy Matsumoto, born 1913 near Los Angeles and educated in Hiroshima. He had three brothers, Takeshi, Norboru and Isao, who were all living in Japan when the war started. Matsumoto returned to California to finish high school. He enlisted at age 29 in the MIS in November 1942 while imprisoned at Jerome incarceration camp. He served in Burma with Merrill’s Marauders and in China. He died in 2014, weeks shy of his 101st birthday.

Tom Sakamoto, born March 5, 1918, in San Jose, California. He was educated for four years at Kyushu Gakkuuen in Kumamoto and returned to the U.S. in 1938. He borrowed $800 from the Farm Bureau to lease 43 acres in Santa Clara Valley to grow fruit and produce. He was drafted at age 23 in 1941 and sent with 57 Japanese Americans to the Army’s first Japanese language school in Presidio and then served as an instructor at Camp Savage. He graduated in May 1942, was retained to join the MIS teaching staff. Sakamoto served in the Admiralties, Los Negros and New Guinea. He served as interpreter for reporters when Japan signed the formal surrender documents on Sept. 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay. He served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, retiring as a colonel. He died in 2013 at age 95.

Kazuo Komoto, born 1918 in Sanger, California.Moved to Okayama in Japan at age 10 in 1928. He graduated from Japanese high school in 1938, returned to the U.S. to attend college. He was drafted at age 23, March 1941. Komoto was in the first class of 200 MIS soldiers at Camp Savage. He served in Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and New Georgia. He died in 2018 at age 100.


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