The MIS (Military Intelligence Service) Veterans Hawai‘i will hold their 80th Anniversary luncheon on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, (2454 S. Beretania St.) in Honolulu.

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m., and there will be a showing of “Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawai‘i” at 10 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., there will be a welcome greeting followed by a lunch by JCCH. The keynote speaker will present at 12:30 p.m., and the closing remarks at 1 p.m. will round out the program.

“This special luncheon honors the veterans of the Military Intelligence Service on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of their formation in 1943,” said president Karen Kikukawa. “These soldiers may not have had the fame or notoriety of their brothers in the 442nd RCT and 100th Infantry Battalion, but they played a pivotal role in the successful U.S. World War II efforts.”

MIS linguists Technical Sergeants Herbert Miyasaki of Paauilo, Hawai‘i, left, and Akiji Yoshimura of Colusa, California, right, take a break from jungle fighting in Burma with Brigadier General Frank Merrill, commander of the 5307th Composite Group, Provisional, better known as Merrill’s Marauders. (U.S. Army Photo courtesy of the MIS Veterans Hawaii website)
MIS linguists Technical Sergeants Herbert Miyasaki of Paauilo, Hawai‘i, left, and Akiji Yoshimura of Colusa, California, right, take a break from jungle fighting in Burma with Brigadier General Frank Merrill, commander of the 5307th Composite Group, Provisional, better known as Merrill’s Marauders. (U.S. Army Photo courtesy of the MIS Veterans Hawaii website)

The contributions of the Military Intelligence Service are not widely known as the MIS soldiers were sworn to secrecy during the war and their efforts were not made public until the mid-1970s. Prior to the outbreak of WWII, the U.S. Army had realized that its Japanese language capabilities were deficient. It secretly established the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) in November 1941 in San Francisco’s Presidio Army base, later moving it to Camp Savage, Minnesota, due to security concerns on the West Coast. In July 1943, seven months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the call went out for Japanese American soldiers with Japanese language skills, over 700 volunteers from Hawai‘i enlisted. During World War II, over 6,000 Nisei served in the allied forces performing secret military intelligence work against Japan.

“We would like to invite all veterans, spouses, widows, as well as descendants and friends of these veterans to register for our luncheon, to honor the legacy of these soldiers and to help share their stories,” said Kikukawa.

The cost is $40 per person (which includes parking), although veterans, spouses and widows of MIS veterans are invited free of charge. Checks can be made payable to “MIS Veterans Hawai‘i.” An RSVP form is available on their website at bit.ly/43gkgkM, and can be printed, filled out and mailed to: MIS Veterans Hawaii, P.O. Box 3012, Honolulu, HI 96802.

For more information, please visit their website at misveteranshawaii.com or contact them via email at misveteranshawaii@gmail.com.


On Saturday, Aug. 12, the Zentoku Foundation will present a free showing of “Paper Chase,” the first film to document 150 years of Japanese in America as seen through Japanese American newspapers.

From early immigration at the dawn of the Meiji era to the present-day efforts to protect the remaining historic Japantowns, the saga of the Nikkei community is chronicled through the lens of vernacular newspapers serving the Japanese American community. The film coincides with the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Wakamatsu tea and silk colonists to the continental United States and the first immigrants to Hawai‘i in 1868.

“Paper Chase” flyer. (Photo courtesy of the Zentoku Foundation)
“Paper Chase” flyer. (Photo courtesy of the Zentoku Foundation)

From labor rights to internment to redress and even to celebrate modern day Olympians, artists and national leaders, these newspapers gave a perspective to the Japanese community that is not found in mainstream media today.

The Zentoku Foundation was created to help grow and strengthen the Japanese American community by developing a convenient, user-friendly, meaningful path for each generation to connect with one another with amazing stories, news and events that enlighten our lives and the world we live in today.

The documentary will be shown at Moanalua High School Performing Arts Center (2825 Ala Ilima St.) on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 11 a.m. The documentary runs 54 minutes. Tickets are complimentary but pre-registration is required. Please RSVP by Tuesday, Aug. 1 to paperchase@zentokufoundation.org to reserve your seat. A trailer of the documentary can be viewed at: vimeo.com/731069626.


“Removed by Force” flyer. (Photo courtesy of the Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter).
“Removed by Force” flyer. (Photo courtesy of the Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter).

On Thursday, June 29, the Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League premiered “Removed by Force: The Eviction of Hawai‘i’s Japanese Americans During WWII,” at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Upcoming screenings will be held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center on Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. Additional showings will be held at Kaua‘i Community College (tentative) on Saturday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Hawai‘i Japanese Center in Hilo.

The documentary film shares the relatively unknown experiences of the 1,500 Americans of Japanese ancestry from 23 geographic areas in Hawai‘i who were evicted from their homes, but not incarcerated, during World War II. Their quest for redress is told from personal interviews and stories by affected individuals, Honolulu JACL and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association lawyers, volunteers and government officials. The project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

The 56-minute film is based on the book by former JACL, Honolulu chapter president William Kaneko and Sarah Lin and is written and directed by Ryan Kawamoto. The film mixes archived video footage and photographs as well as drawn renderings to match interviewees stories, sketched in muted tones.

Narrated by Dennis Sekine, the film opens with the moment that changed the landscape of Japanese Americans in the United States forever — when the nation of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. A Japanese American Wahiawä resident recalls her brother climbing on the roof of their house to watch the planes and remembers a pilot waving at her brother right before dropping the bombs on the pineapple fields nearby. Another resident remembers filling up gas in Honouliuli, looking up and seeing the swarms of planes, remarking on what his family had thought were very realistic-looking training exercises before hearing the bombs explode.

Before delving into the wartime hysteria that sent thousands of Americans of Japanese descent into incarceration camps in Hawai‘i and the continental U.S., the film takes a look back at the gannenmono, the first Japanese to come to Hawai‘i to work in the plantation fields in 1868, followed by the Issei, the first wave of Japanese immigrants to arrive 17 years later. Many came to Hawai‘i to work in the sugar plantations in hopes of a better life, laid down roots and started families.

On Dec. 7, 1941, everything changed. While the FBI, police and military arrested hundreds of Japanese Americans and sent over 2,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawai‘i into incarceration camps, another crime was simultaneously committed.

The film explores the important decade-long work of the young Japanese Americans in the JACL Honolulu chapter as they worked alongside the Office of Redress Administration. The ORA was appointed by President Ronald Reagan after he signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (Executive Order 442) and were tasked with identifying and verifying Japanese Americans eligible for $20,000 reparations and formal letters of apologies.

Their work began when JACL Honolulu chapter president William Kaneko received a phone call from Dr. Donald Kanemaru, who posed a unique question. His family was forcibly removed from their home, but not incarcerated. Would they be eligible for reparations? This phone call sent Kaneko, the JACL Honolulu chapter and the ORA down a path to uncover more “unique” stories of the hundreds of other displaced Americans of Japanese ancestry whose experiences had been unacknowledged and untold for over half a century. Without a camp roster like those incarcerated in camps, how would the JACL uncover these individuals who deserved reparations and a formal apology? How would they prove these stories true?

As Kaneko and the JACL pro bono lawyers and graduate student Pam Funai unraveled more of these untold stories, they found families from Lualualei  and Pauoa Valley, from Waiau, Pu‘uloa, Iwilei, and Marconi, Pu’uloa, Haiku and many more.

In the end, the JACL, the ORA, young lawyers and volunteers assisted 1,500 Japanese Americans in 23 geographic areas across the islands where Americans were forced out of their homes and businesses because of their proximity to “military necessity” who due to their race. A total of 82,000 Japanese Americans received $1.8 billion in compensation from the U.S. government and issued an unprecedented apology to its citizens.

The success the JACL faced in the redress for Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i is a story of dedication, hard work and most importantly, a community coming together to help right a wrong.

Tickets for the O‘ahu showings of “Removed by Force: The Eviction of Hawai‘i’s Japanese Americans During WWII” are available at givebutter.com/japanese-american-citizens-league.


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