Remembering Pearl Harbor from a Hawaiian Veteran’s perspective

Post written by Alan Hino, Intern at Go For Broke National Education Center

December 7th is always an odd day for me. On the one hand,  it was the beginning of all of the events that led to my family being incarcerated at both Manzanar and Rohwer (as well as Jerome) incarceration camps. Obviously, this personal impact is far outweighed by the thousands that were entombed in the ships and killed in action defending our country. On the other hand, in some strange way,  my family  is both stronger and more closely tight knit because of everything that they went through. It also doesn’t hurt that one of my best friend’s birthday happens to fall on “a date which will live in infamy.”

As we all remember the tragic events of Pearl Harbor, I wanted to highlight a veteran’s perspective of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Mr. Saburo Nishime was stationed at Schofield Barracks and happened to be away from the base since it was a Sunday. He had, unfortunately, heard it on the radio, and needed to travel back to Schofield via truck. He traveled to a point where he could see the USS Arizona burning, along with the other ships in “disarray.” When asked about his feelings on the bombing, he simply shrugged and stated, “it was war.”

He vividly remembers Schofield Barracks being a “tent city,” and how the tent city was sprayed with bullets by enemy fighters. Luckily, since it was a Sunday, the tent city was, for the most part, empty. In reaction, he was told to “wait for what was to come” with the arms they received earlier. They were now armed and prepared, just waiting for the enemy. They had accidentally shot down one of their own planes that happened to fly overhead as it made its way back to an aircraft carrier.

Mr. Nishime stated that the mood among the soldiers was: “We were in a war. It was just the way it was.” Once the defense of the base had ceased, the Nisei soldiers were disarmed. The explanation was that there was a rumor going around that the Nisei soldiers may riot. In addition, the Colonel explained that he trusted 75% of the Nisei soldiers, however, he did not trust the other 25% of them. The rifles were later returned to the soldiers after the first night, and “nothing more was said about the whole thing.”

What Are You Working On, Alan Hino?

Post written by Alan Hino, Intern at Go For Broke National Education Center

I am currently working on Mr. Saburo Nishime’s Hanashi Project Oral History interview clips. I was really impacted by a quote from Mr. Nishime when he was discussing how often his Captains were being replaced. One Captain delivered a very powerful quote. This quote was so powerful that I had to copy it down verbatim in order to deliver it just as Mr. Nishime had recited it. Here is the following quote:

“Nisei soldiers, we have to get into combat, to make the necessary sacrifice as common soldiers, before we can hold our heads up as Americans. That would affect us even when we get back to Hawaii, we can hold up our head because we were in combat. We have to get into combat to get the status, we can up hold ourselves as Americans.”

That quote really had an impact on Mr. Nishime, since it had stuck with him after all of these years. The weight and responsibility of that quote must have been humbling to hear as a young man entering combat. The “necessary sacrifice” was such a bold statement, I had to rewind it a few times to fully understand its meaning. For these men, it was not enough to defend our country – their Captain demanded sacrifices so they can all call themselves Americans. This was such an awe-inspiring quote for me. It stuck with me throughout the rest of the day, and I felt a renewed patriotism. This quote tied directly into another quote that Mr. Nishime had discussed.

While describing his family history, he mentioned that, although his parents did not offer him this advice before he left, he had heard that many Japanese families telling Nisei soldiers to “not shame the family name.” This quote really showed how important pride, honor, and family were to Japanese American soldiers. Rather than focusing on the individual and the danger the soldier would be facing, the family focused on their name. This reminded me of the old saying that “wounds heal, scars fade, but glory is forever.” Your actions will be forever attached to your name, and your name is something that cannot be so easily forgotten. This quote was something I just quickly glossed over the first time I heard it. But when I took the time to really pay attention, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Although they were never spoken to me explicitly, my family has always preached this sense of pride. This pride comes with being courageous and doing what is right. Like the Captain’s quote, the actions and sacrifices of the soldiers ties into their status as Americans. So, too, does the actions of the soldier tie into the family name.

About the Authors: Alan Hino

Post written by Alan Hino, Intern at Go For Broke National Education Center

My name is Alan Hino, and I am an Intern at the Go For Broke National Education Center. I am a graduate from CSULB as an English Education major with an emphasis in Literature. I will shortly begin working towards an M.S. in Instructional Design. I began working for the organization in July, and I am currently working on indexing the GFBNEC’s Hanashi Oral History Interviews of Japanese American World War II veterans.

I became very interested in both the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, as well as my family history, when I found out my Uncle Hobi Fujiu volunteered for service in the 442nd as a part of the Anti-Tank Company. In addition, my Uncle Tom Shishido was drafted into service out of Manzanar with the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and served under General MacArthur. I am extremely proud of my Uncles and their brave service to their country. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work on my Uncle Hobi’s Hanashi Oral History Interview video clips.

My hope for working on such an amazing project as the Hanashi Oral History Interviews is to help educate future generations about the legacies of the 442nd / 100th Infantry Battalion / MIS. Finally, I am very appreciative for the opportunity to work on such an important project.