Postage Stamp to Recognize Nisei Soldiers of WWII

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USPS announcement follows 15 years of community campaigning.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service on Nov. 17 revealed several new stamps to be issued in 2021, including the Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII stamp.

“With this commemorative stamp, the Postal Service recognizes the contributions of Japanese American soldiers, some 33,000 altogether, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II,” the USPS said. “The stamp, printed in the intaglio method, is based on a photograph.

“‘Go for Broke’ was the motto of the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team and came to represent all Japanese American units formed during World War II. The stamp was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá.”

Wayne Osako, co-chair of the Stamp Our Story campaign, issued the following statement: “Today, the U.S. Postal Service announced that a ‘Go For Broke’ commemorative postage stamp will be included in its 2021 lineup. The issuance of this stamp is a culmination of over 15 years of work by Stamp Our Story campaign founders Fusa Takahashi, Aiko O. King, the late Chiz Ohira, and the many individuals who have helped over the years.

“You who supported this effort are an integral part of why this historic stamp is soon-to be a reality in 2021. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Please join with us in taking a moment to remember and honor the service and sacrifice of the 33,000 American men and women of Japanese heritage who served during World War II. Over 800 gave their lives. They served with distinction and honor alongside the 16 million fellow American servicemen and servicewomen of the war.

“These Japanese American men and women patriotically served in the U.S. Army during the war, despite the United States’ mass incarceration of their families, friends, and communities in concentration camps on American soil. Many of them enlisted from behind the barbed wire of the camps, seeking to contribute to the war effort anyway, and to prove their loyalty through service. They served amidst intense war hysteria and prejudice directed at them, and at the whole Japanese American community.

“Men served mainly in the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and in the Military Intelligence Service. Women served primarily in the Women’s Army Corps, Army Nurse Corps, and Cadet Nurse Corps. Once primarily the motto of the 100th/442nd RCT, ‘Go For Broke’ has become associated with the fighting spirit of all of the Japanese Americans who served during the war.

“Their inspiring legacy helped Japanese Americans get back on their feet after the war, and helped lead to reparations in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Theirs is also a proud story shared by our nation’s military, that honors them with buildings named after them, a ‘Go For Broke’ Day, and a prominent place in the history of our armed forces. In 2011, they were also collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

“Stamp Our Story had submitted formal requests for a ‘Go For Broke’ stamp in various forms since 2005. The final image on the stamp was chosen internally within the USPS. Official USPS rules of stamp selection prohibit stamp design submissions by the public. Only stamp subject proposals are allowed.

“A sincere thanks goes out to the U.S. Postal Service for finally telling this inspiring American story on a stamp of its own. This is an important step toward recognizing the many important contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

“We again send our appreciation to all of you who have supported the campaign over the years! We also sincerely appreciate the strong bipartisan support from lawmakers, both past and present, who supported this campaign. We are proud to highlight that individuals from both sides of the aisle in Congress, and from all levels of government, have shown their public support for this campaign to commemorate these Americans.

“To learn more about the Stamp Our Story campaign, go to www.StampOurStory.org. Stamp Our Story will continue to work toward educating the public about the proud American story behind the stamp.”

The website includes a list of lawmakers who supported the campaign.

The “They Deserve a Stamp” page on Facebook posted, “For 15 years, dedicated people like Fusa, Aiko, Chiz and Wayne Osako refused to give up on fighting for something that shouldn’t have required such a fight. But, like the 100th/442, they never gave up. The stamp may be small, but what it represents is HUGE. Spread the good news!”

During the campaign, the Facebook group pointed out, “Elvis, Batman, penguins, Harry Potter, butterflies and Garfield all have commemorative stamps. Who doesn’t? The most decorated military unit in U.S. history.”

“The new USPS ‘Go For Broke’ forever stamp is a great recognition for the important role the WWII Nisei of the 100th Battalion /442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service played in the war effort,” Yoshio Nakamura, a veteran of the 442nd, Companies M and L, told The Rafu. “I am very grateful for the sacrifices my comrades made and that I was able to be a small part of their distinguished record.”

“A handwritten letter shows the recipient how much you care. The stamp you choose to adorn your envelope adds an extra important touch,” said USPS Stamp Services Director William Gicker. “The new 2021 stamps are designed to look beautiful on your envelopes, to be educational and to appeal to collectors and pen pals around the world. As always, the program offers a variety of subjects celebrating American culture and history, and this year, we made a special effort to include a little fun.”

The 2021 stamp program commemorates Missouri statehood; Chien-Shiung Wu, one of the most influential American nuclear physicists of the 20th century; Lunar New Year-Year of the Ox; and Day of the Dead. Fun issuances include Western Wear, Backyard Games, Espresso Drinks, a stamp showcasing a visual riddle, and four Message Monster stamps with self-adhesive accessories. The program also includes Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses, the last of the popular Lighthouse stamp series.

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at http://usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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