3 July 2009

Japanese Eyes...American Hearts

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, set Hawai`i on a new course of history that would affect every living soul in these Islands. How Hawai`i's people, particularly those of Japanese ancestry, responded to the act of aggression by Japan changed Hawai`i's social, economic, and political history forever.

Much has been written about how Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion answered their country's call through military service - and the high price they paid in human lives in freedom's cause.

Not as thoroughly recorded, however, are the thoughts and innermost feelings of the nisei soldiers who put their lives on the line for their country, and what those experiences meant to them. Those stories have always been the most difficult to pry from the hearts and souls of the AJA men who served our country in World War II. It was that void in the story of Hawai`i's nisei soldiers that Bishop Ryokan Ara of the Tendai Educational Fund asked members of the Hawai`i Nikkei History Editorial Board to fill.

Japanese Eyes... American Heart is the result of that effort. It is a rare and powerful collection of personal thoughts written by the soldiers themselves, reflections of the men's thoughts as recorded in diaries and letters sent home to family members and friends, and other expressions about an episode that marked a turning point in the lives of many.

Available from:
University of Hawai'i Press

No comments: