By Curtis Narimatsu
The Japanese language school laws to abolish the Japanese language schools/gakko were struck down in 1927 by the U.S. Supreme Court, a body praised by Japanâ€™s press as â€œthe worldâ€™s most authoritative and dependable organ.â€ In 1935 Congress allowed WWI Japanese alien U.S. war veterans to become U.S. citizens. Mamo St. icon Sen. Sanji Abe was an American-born 2nd generation U.S. citizen, as was County Public Works engineer head Frank Futoshi Arakawa. Both also served with our WWI Co. D as doughboys [Frank was an officer], along with conscripted aliens. Both men also were great athletes in their halcyon younger days. The Advertiser gushed w/pride in its August 15, 1917 article which remarked on our all-Japanese Co. D [Who said our 100th/442 were the original Go for Broke boys?? No, WWI Co. D was!]: â€œIt is going to be a good company. With the enthusiasm displayed by the Japanese and their desire to give a practical demonstration of their loyalty to the American flag, it is safe to say that it is going to be one of the crack (top) organizations. Anyone who knows the Japanese knows that!â€ Abe/Arakawa, our stalwart AJA leaders, were ignobly interned WWII for greeting Japan Navy/dignitaries who came to see Kilauea volcano pre-WWII. Kansha/with gratitude.
Genesis Of 100th/442 Combat Units
The 298th/299th National Guard incl. 1940-1941 conscripts at least 21 yrs. old. So when Pearl Harbor was bombed, our buddahead National Guard conscripts were herded into a separate/segregated unit, eventually resulting in the formation of our 100th Batt., thanks to exhortations by Christian idealist Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002, who advocated combat missions for our 100th Batt. to demonstrate buddahead loyalty to America [& to avert mass buddahead internment WWII]. Thence, our original 100th boys were born 1918 & earlier, such as Sparky Matsunaga (1916-1990), & such as Hilo originals Shigeru Ushijima 1918-2009 [solon 442 John’s older brah’ — John 1924-2006]/Moto Tanaka born 1918. Hung Wai Chingâ€™s Varsity Victory Volunteers of UH ROTC led by irascible moocher Ted Tsukiyama born Dec. 1920 eventually resulted in the formation of the 442nd RCT, volunteers/enlistees mainly of those born 1922-1924. The 100th always cast a wary eye on the Tsukiyama-led impudent 442 punk-asses, younger/repudiatory of the old order of things, mainly because of the 442â€™s high school diplomas available to those born 1920 & after [thanks to DPI/DOE chief Oren E. Long, who made sure that kids born 1920 & after on the plantations were able to get high school diplomas]. On the other hand, my dad 1913-1998 was a plantation mechanic, was not drafted 1940-1941 [too old for such genre], & Dad volunteered for the 442 for the sense of adventure/escaping the plantation feudal system. Dad had just an 8th grade education [Big 5 deliberate policy to plaster plantation kids to the mill mentality — unaffordable public school tuition/cost from the 9th-12th grades]. Of course, punk asses like Isamu Kanekuni born 1921 had high school diplomas & joined the 442 because all of their buddies were doing it. Isamu had no sense of patriotism/devotion to ideals, as Dad did not. Thence, Willy Okino Thompson born 1924, half Scot/half buddahead [Dotty Thompson’s 1921-2010 brother in law], from the asshole generation post-1920 born kids, didnâ€™t have to join the 442, being half-haole, but Willy was raised Japanee, more Japanee than fellow Waiakea Yashijima Japanee, but Willy wanted to join his fellow buddies, & Willy was taken under my Dadâ€™s wings as Dadâ€™s spiritual/hanai baby brother. Willy demonstrated tremendous courage under fire [literally] as 2nd Batt. infantryman, being awarded unit citation/Bronze Star. Dad got Silver Star/unit award. So when Isamu attended the Japanese-American monument ceremonies in D.C., UPI reporter asked Isamu why Isamu joined the 442. Isamu honestly said to be w/Isamuâ€™s Waiakea Sugar Mill gang. The UPI scribe did not print Isamuâ€™s line, but instead printed the euphemistic line of â€œhonor/duty/country,â€ which were alien to our gang toughies like Isamu from our sugar mills. Scrub Tanaka 1915-2006 rebuked America for interning Japanese-Americans, but Scrub grudgingly joined the 442 to save face for Scrubâ€™s Hongwanji Buddhist family from Honokaâ€™a, who were suspected of being disloyal to America via their Buddhist religion. Scrub was selected to the MIS & rankled over the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, being that Scrub was there w/U.S. forces, & Scrub said that Japan was an utterly defeated demoralized country incapable of defending itself anymore when the 2 atomic bombs were dropped. Scrub with his own eyes in Japan, said that Truman was hoodwinked by Tojoâ€™s propaganda of â€œfight to the death,â€ which Scrub said was full-on bullsh_t.
(Curtis Narimatsu isÂ a lifelong resident of Hilo who writes about the forgotten past such as the oldÂ plantation days & untold heroes.)