SEATTLE – As we recognize the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor Wednesday, a new book is detailing the lives of six Japanese-American soldiers who fought for the U.S. in World War II.
The surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941, was carried out by the Japanese. 2,335 U.S. service members died.
That attack impacted Japanese-Americans, who were soon labeled enemies of the states and were forced into internment camps.
But there was a group of about 15,000 Japanese-American soldiers who volunteered for the army, according to author Larry Matsuda.
“This is not a Japanese American story. This is an American story,” he said. “And it needs to be told.”
Matsuda’s book, Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers, is a graphic novel that details six Japanese-American soldiers who fought for the United States.
“It was a labor of love,” said Matsuda. “It’s for all the Nisei veterans who gave their lives and their blood for this country and volunteered out of American concentration camps.”
One of the profiles includes Shiro Kashino. He’s since passed, but was wounded six times in combat and was a decorated service member.
His wife, Louise, said she waited for her then-boyfriend while he was at war.
“He told me the reason he had to go was to prove his loyalty,” she said.
Matsuda said that loyalty was one-sided.
“They fought for America - a country that abandoned them,” he said.
The two said the story of the heroic soldiers who were often put into dangerous missions needs to be told.
“This is our way of keeping the legacy and telling the story so that the young future generations will know about it,” said Louise.