SAN FRANCISCO — The National Japanese American Historical Society’s annual members’ meeting, featuring a sneak peek of the MIS Historic Learning Center and a screening of new documentary, will be held on Saturday, June 29, from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Presidio of San Francisco.
The meeting is on the same day that the Smithsonian’s touring exhibition of the Congressional Gold Medal opens at the De Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The exhibition, which was last seen at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, features the medal that was presented to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service in 2011.
Starting at 9 a.m., NJAHS will provide a shuttle from San Francisco Japantown’s Peace Plaza (Post and Buchanan streets) to the De Young, then to the Presidio and back to Japantown at 5 p.m.
Registration at the MIS Historic Learning Center, 640 Mason St. in the Presidio’s Crissy Field, is from 12 to 2 p.m. with site tours every half-hour. The learning center is located in the original home of the MIS Language School, which was established by the Army in November 1941 to train soldiers, mostly Nisei, to become translators and interpreters in the Pacific Theater. The school was later moved to Minnesota.
The center includes a replica of an MIS classroom and displays on the internment of Japanese Americans and the role of the MIS in Allied campaigns in Asia and the Pacific as well as the postwar occupation of Japan.
The members’ meeting will be held from 12:30 to 1 p.m. and a board meeting from 1:10 to 2 p.m.
A members’ program from 2 to 4 p.m. will feature the premiere of “Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story.” The documentary tells the complex story of a Japanese immigrant family ripped apart by World War II. The Matsumoto family included five sons; two who fought for the Americans and three who fought for the Japanese. The eldest, Hiroshi (Roy), became a hero, fighting against the Japanese with Merrill’s Marauders, an American guerrilla unit in Burma.
He was born near Los Angeles, educated in Japan, and became a hero when he used his Japanese language skills and military training to save his surrounded, starving battalion deep in the Burmese jungle. At the same time, his parents and sisters were living in their family’s ancestral home, Hiroshima.
The story is told by Roy’s daughter Karen as she discovers her father’s work in military intelligence, kept secret for 50 years.
Roy and Karen Matsumoto will be on hand for a Q&A session, along with Col. Tom Sakamoto (retired), a graduate of the first MIS class.