Tohoru Isobe, president of the Japanese American Korean War Veterans (JAKWV), has announced that the names of four Japanese Americans who were killed in action during the Korean War are to be added to the Japanese American Korean War Memorial Monument in South Korea.
They are: Herman B. Kamai, Arthur Kenolio, Masao Tayama and George Toro, Jr.
JAKWV is currently contracting to have these names engraved on that Korea Memorial. Their names have already been placed on the Japanese American Korean War Memorial Monument in the Japanese American National War Memorial Court at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo.
In October 2015, the JAKWV will have a rededication of the Korea Memorial when 70 members of the JAKWV travel group have a small ceremony dedicated to all those who were killed in action during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. Sam Shimoguchi will chair the event, Ally Watada will give a short history of the war, and David Kenolio from Hawaii, will say a few words about his late relative Arthur Kenolio.
In 2001, the JAKWV dedicated the Japanese American Korean War Memorial Monument in ImjinGak Memorial Park, at P’aju City in South Korea. The names of 247 known Japanese American KIAs were listed on the memorial, and 112 JAKWV members, families and friends, as well as families of the KIAs, came from the U.S. and Canada for the ceremony.
More than 300 people were in attendance, including various Korean federal, state and local government entities, U.S. government representatives, Korean War veterans, and news media. The U.S. Army 2nd Infantry division commander, division band and personnel also participated.
ImjinGak Memorial Park, located just south of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, has 1.2 million visitors each year.
Unlike World War II, all minorities were integrated into all American military units during the Korean War. These units included African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Puerto Ricans, who were previously segregated in World War II. In addition, there were South Koreans who were placed into the front-line American units to augment them.
When the KIA listing for the Korean War monuments was first made, only KIAs with Japanese surnames were listed, since partJapanese Americans with other than Japanese surnames could not be identified. Subsequently, other KIA Japanese Americans were discovered, as well as partJapanese Americans whose Japanese ethnicity were verified, and their names were placed on the monument in Los Angeles.
In 2008, four more KIA names were added to the Korea Memorial: Henry Enoka, Moses E. Kuni, Frederick Nobutoshi Pestana, and Yoshihiko Tengan. Over 200 people attended the rededication at ImjinGak, including 102 JAKWV members, relatives and friends. Participants included the 2nd Infantry division commander, division band and personnel, as well as Korean college students from Busan.
With the addition of the latest four names, 255 names of Japanese Americans who gave their lives for the freedom of South Korea will be listed on the monuments in Los Angeles and in South Korea.
The JAKWV tour group will go to Korea on Oct. 15. The group will take a day trip to the Demilitarized Zone, then visit Imjin-Gak, where a service will be held to rededicate the memorial with the added names. The next day, the group will travel by bullet train to spend two days in Busan, the port city where many of the Korean War vets boarded ships for home. From there the group will travel to Hokkaido and spend the rest of the tour in Japan.
Space is available for anyone interested in going. Call or email Sam Shimoguchi at (310) 433-2847 or [email protected] for information.