Nisei Soldier Experience

Exhibit Information
  • Clock30 minutes
  • agesApproved for all ages
  • calendarTemporary Exhibit
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The Two Front War

The Museum is home to an unprecedented collection of Japanese American artifacts that capture the rarely-told story of the Japanese American Nisei Soldier during World War II. This temporary exhibit highlights their struggles both at home and abroad. Their courageous acts on the battlefield and their long-awaited recognition culminating in the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Nisei Soldiers of World War II in 2000.

Artifact Highlights

Unique Artifact

M1 Steel Helmet -This M1 Steel Helmet was worn by Pvt. George Sakato during his service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy and France. In the fighting at Hill 617 near Biffontaine, France, Pvt. Sakato lead an assault killing 12 enemy soldiers, wounding two, and personally capturing four prisoners. In June 2000, President Bill Clinton approved the upgrade of Sakato’s Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor.

Unique Artifact

ID Disk (Dog Tag) -When the U.S. government lifted the restrictions on Nisei women joining the Women’s Army Corps, Terry Toyome Nakanishi signed up on March 6, 1944. After a few months, she was reassigned to the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. On January 27, 1946, Nakanishi was sent to serve in the Occupation of Japan and was assigned to G-2 Intelligence Headquarters. She provided administrative and translation support for trials of war criminals.

Unique Artifact

Medal of Honor -Pfc. Kaoru Moto was assigned to the all-Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion and on July 7, 1944, near Castellina Marittima, Italy, single-handedly silenced two enemy machine gun positions while acting as a scout, and then destroyed a third despite being seriously wounded. For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000.

Unique Artifact

Personalized Travel Bag -Sgt. Gary Kazuo Uchida was born in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, and was inducted into the U.S. Army at Schofield Barracks on June 30, 1941, just six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Uchida was injured on November 5, 1943 at Hill 600 near Pozzilli, Italy, just prior to the Battle of Monte Cassino. He kept an illustrated record of his experiences on this travel bag.

Unique Artifact

Prosthetic Hand Cover and Harness -Sgt. Shigeru Inouye served in Italy with Company D, 100th Infantry Battalion, and was wounded severely in action during the Monte Cassino campaign. On February 9, 1944, Inouye left a sheltered position to aid a hurt officer. He was wounded by German sniper fire in the left arm and left eye. As a result of his injuries, Inouye lost vision in his left eye and most of the use of his left arm and hand.

Unique Artifact

Cartridge Fragments and German Matchbox -These fragments of American .30-06 Springfield cartridges were removed from a wound suffered by 2nd Lt. Takeichi Miyashiro. During intense fighting around the town of Biffontaine, France, Miyashiro was struck by a projectile that exploded an 8-round clip in his ammunition belt. While being evacuated, Miyashiro and others were captured by a German patrol. Lt. Miyashiro was transferred through several hospitals before he finally received proper surgical attention from a British prisoner of war who had been captured in North Africa.

“We were fighting two wars, one for American democracy, and one against the prejudice toward us in America.”

Capt. Sakae Takahashi

Soldier Profiles

Soldier Profiles
Sgt. Enoch Kanaya

Kanaya was a high school student in Portland, Ore. when World War II broke out….

Soldier Profiles
Col. Harry Fukuhara

Seattle-born Harry Fukuhara spent some of his childhood years in his mother’s hometown of Hiroshima,…

Soldier Profiles
2nd Lt. Yeiki Kobashigawa

Still in basic training when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Kobashigawa rushed to report to his…

Soldier Profiles
Pfc. Jim Tazoi

When the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was formed, Tazoi, already a member of the Utah…

Soldier Profiles
Ralph Yempuku

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ralph Yempuku served with the Hawaii Territorial Guard and…