‘Go For Broke: JA Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts’ Opens Nov. 12

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  Company H, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, marches through a recently liberated town in Italy. The 442nd RCT captured and liberated numerous towns in Italy and in Southern France. (National Archives)

Company H, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, marches through a recently liberated town in Italy. The 442nd RCT captured and liberated numerous towns in Italy and in Southern France. (National Archives)

The Japanese American National Museum will present the exhibition “Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts” from Nov. 12, 2013 to March 2, 2014. “Go For Broke” chronicles the history of Nisei soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service who served during World War II to prove their loyalty to the nation that classified them as “enemy aliens” despite the fact that they were American citizens.

Photograph of a Nisei soldier of Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion. This photograph was taken during the campaign for the rescue of the Lost Battalion in the Vosges mountains in October 1944. Image credit: National Archives

A Nisei soldier of Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion. This photograph was taken during the campaign for the rescue of the Lost Battalion in the Vosges mountains in October 1944. (National Archives)

Japanese American soldiers fought in eight brutal campaigns across Europe, receiving thousands of medals for heroism. Their segregated unit – the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team – became the most decorated military unit for its size and its length of service. Thousands more joined the Military Intelligence Service and operated throughout the Pacific Theater as language and intelligence specialists.

However, their battles were not finished when the war ended. The Nisei veterans returned to fight pervasive racism back home where they proved to be just as successful. First displayed at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, “Go For Broke” shows how instrumental these soldiers were in the Japanese American fight for justice both overseas and at home. JANM is pleased to present this exhibition and the remarkable legacy of the Nisei veterans.

The photographs in “Go For Broke” are supplemented by a special Guide-by-Cell audio tour, with narration by the curator Eric Saul, director of the Japanese American Wartime History Project, as well as narration from the veterans themselves courtesy of the Go For Broke National Education Center’s Hanashi Oral History Program.

Accompanying this exhibition is a continuous screening of “A Flicker in Eternity,” a documentary telling the true World War II story of Stanley Hayami, a talented young teenager caught between his dreams of becoming an artist and his duty to his country.

A special JANM member preview event on Sunday, Nov. 10, includes a brief program and remarks by Saul.

Complementing “Go For Broke” will be a Tateuchi Public Program Series panel discussion on “The Military Intelligence Service in Occupied Japan” on Saturday, Dec. 7. MIS veterans Edwin Nakasone, Bruce Kaji, and Hitoshi Sameshima will discuss their roles in the rebuilding of Japan after the end of World War II.

On Saturday, March 1, 2014, the Go For Broke National Education Center will present “Spotlight on the Japanese American Experience and Current Affairs,” a community discussion finding parallels between the Japanese American experience and current challenges facing the nation.

“Go For Broke” is organized by the Japanese American Wartime History Project. Support is provided in part by the fundraising efforts of the Southern California Community Committee for the American Heroes exhibition: 100th/ 442nd Veterans Association, Go For Broke National Education Center, Japanese American Citizens League – Pacific Southwest District, JANM, MIS Veterans Association of Southern California, and Veterans Memorial Court Alliance. Additional support is provided by the Kazuo and Mary Yamane Family Foundation.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday from 12 to 8 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $5 for seniors; students and children, and free for museum members and children under age five. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from 12 to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.

Nisei women soldiers, Army of Occupation in Japan. Image credit: National Archives

Nisei women soldiers, Army of Occupation in Japan. (National Archives)

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