SoCal Memorial Day Observances

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Japanese American veterans will be honored this weekend at various events in Southern California, including the following:

Kazuo Masuda, who was killed in action in World War II, will be remembered at a ceremony in Westminster.

• Memorial service for all Japanese Americans who gave their lives in the nation’s wars on Saturday, May 26, at 11 a.m. at the Japanese American National War Memorial Court, adjacent to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo. Sponsored by the Japanese American Korean War Veterans and Japanese American Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, this year’s service will honor the World War II Nisei veterans who received the Congressional Gold Medal. Keynote speaker: Superior Court Judge Vincent Okamoto, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

For more information, contact Min Tonai, (818) 591-1269 or [email protected]; Sam Shimoguchi, (310) 822-6688; or Ken Hayashi, (323) 585-0802.

• Memorial Day service for local Nikkei veterans of all wars at Evergreen Cemetery, 204 N. Evergreen Ave. in Boyle Heights, on Monday, May 28, at 11 a.m. Presented by VFW Post 1961 (as part of the Nisei Veterans Coordinating Council) and Evergreen Cemetery. The featured presentation will consist of an introductory oratory about Memorial Day, followed by a reading of three poems — by the Grateful Crane Ensemble’s Helen Ota, Kurt Kuniyoshi and Darrell Kunitomi — that convey the emotional experiences of Memorial Day.  The readings will have recorded musical accompaniment.  This presentation is a companion to the 2011 NVCC Memorial Day ceremony, where letters from those that died in war were read.

For more information, contact NVCC Secretary Cathy Tanaka at (213) 626-0441, ext. 21.

• Screening of Junichi Suzuki’s documentary about the Military Intelligence Service, “MIS: Human Secret Weapon,” on Monday, May 28, at the Armstrong Theater, 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance, (310) 781-7150. Showtimes: 11 a.m., 1:40 p.m., 4:20 p.m., 7 p.m. Tickets: (888) 507-3287, www.allamerican-tkt.com, or go to Asahiya, Kinokuniya and Sanseido bookstores. Info: UTB, (323) 469-2929, http://mis-film.com/.

Screenings are also scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Woodbridge Movies, 4626 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, (949) 733-0980; Saturday, June 9, at 11 a.m., 1:40 p.m., 4:20 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Gaslamp 15, 701 5th Ave., San Diego, (619) 232-0401.

Suzuki’s documentary “442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity” will be broadcast on KCET on Tuesday, May 29, at 10 p.m.

“MIS: Human Secret Weapon” completes Suzuki’s trilogy of films about the Japanese American World War II experience, the first of which was “Toyo’s Camera.”

• Kazuo Masuda VFW Post 3670’s Memorial Day service on Monday, May 28, at 3 p.m. at Westminster Memorial Park, 14801 Beach Blvd., Westminster. The service is held annually at the gravesite of S/Sgt. Kazuo Masuda, a local resident who gave his life in Italy in 1944 while serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He posthumously received the Distinguished Service Cross and other medals. The cemetery initially refused to allow Masuda to be buried there, but the Army and other supporters intervened and Capt. Ronald Reagan, future U.S. president, spoke at a rally in his honor. A school in Fountain Valley now bears Masuda’s name.

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