A book launch for “442,” written by Koji Steven Sakai and Phinneas Kiyomura and illustrated by Rob Sato, will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Giant Robot 2, 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles.
Based on one of World War II’s most compelling and important stories. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the U.S. Army’s Japanese American segregated fighting regiment, would become the most decorated unit of the war, and the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in American history. Even with their families confined behind barbed wire in American concentration camps, these soldiers fought to rescue a Texas battalion lost behind enemy lines.
A fictionalized account based on the actual events, “442” follows young Japanese Americans soldiers as they suffer prejudice, incarceration and terrible casualties in their battle to rescue the Lost Battalion.
Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of Chopso, the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit “The People I’ve Slept With.” He also produced three feature films, a one-hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and “Comedy InvAsian,” a Netflix television series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians.
His debut novel, “Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies,” was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting and digital media arts at International Technological University in San Jose.
Phinneas Kiyomura, a Los Angeles native, graduated from CSU Fullerton with a BFA in theatre and creative writing and quickly became a firmly entrenched member of Los Angeles’ theatre scene. With 12 recent mainstage productions, he currently calls L.A.’s own multi-award-winning, punk-rock Theatre of NOTE — named by **LA Weekly** named as one of the city’s best comedy ensembles — home. His acting credits include the award-winning “Yellow Flesh Alabaster Rose,” “Boiler Room,” and “A Mulholland Christmas Carol.”
In 2000, not long after graduating, Kiyomura and his co-writer were awarded third place in Clasky Csupo’s TV Writing Contest. He spent the next year developing “Shooting Blanks,” a feature-length film he wrote, directed and co-starred in with Kirsten Vangsness (“Criminal Minds”). He then returned to the Theater of NOTE, writing and acting in multiple productions, culminating in the highly acclaimed production of his play “Lydia in Bed” (the basis of “Beds and Graves”), which Variety called “an impressively original voice.” “Lydia” garnered two LA Weekly nominations and requests from such prestigious theatres as 2nd Stage NY, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Vulcan Productions (producers of the incendiary Sundance fave “Hard Candy”).
Rob Sato, a Los Angeles-based artist, creates a sense of twisted nostalgia in viewers with his grotesque yet quietly beautiful watercolor paintings. In them, he intertwines the mechanical and organic elements that characterize his stark images of decay. These scenes — along with their historical influences — explore how old technology remains buried in the collective consciousness long after the objects themselves are gone.
In 2005, Sato self-published a graphic novel, “Burying Sandwiches,” with the help of a Xeric Grant. Since then, he has continued to work and exhibit across the country, most recently in a two-person show at Giant Robot 2.