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Pearl Harbor:
Asian Americans Witness
Air Raid on December 7th, 1941 (Pt 2)

Written by
Burt Takeuchi
(Nihonmachi Outreach Committee)

LATER, ABOUT 115 HAWAIIAN JAPANESE AMERICANS were sent directly to the mainland. Briefly at Angel Island, San Francisco, California then to other concentration camps inland. Despite the protests of his employers at the museum, Noda was forced to stay behind barbed wire for most of the war in the Islands. Later he was sent to Honouliuli Internment Camp right above Pearl Harbor with 70 other persons. "After a year or so they treated us real good". There were a few German prisoners at the camp. One was actually a Gestapo agent who worked with the Japanese Consulate in the Islands. There were no Japanese Americans tried for spying against the US.

Honolulu Fire Dept.
From the Pearl Harbor Battle

Hickam Field
John Carriera, 51
Thomas Samuel Macy, 59
Harry Tuck Lee Pang, 30

MARTHA NAKAYAMA (AGE 14) was washing clothes in the "washi-ba" ( covered washing area) that morning when she heard "when the shooting started". She went to look outside and saw people running in from the fields for cover. An anti aircraft shell burst over head and "shrapnel came down". "I got hit in the hand and saw blood coming out." She remembered "kids crawled under their beds to hide".

NEARBY FORT SCHAFTER COMMAND CENTER had a hospital so her brother took her there for medical attention. At the hospital she was taken to the women's ward where she "could hear guns going off and rattling away" in the distance. Nakayama felt, " I was not really hurt " badly but recalled having her arm in a sling. She wanted to go home and when she left the hospital she described "a most awful scene" where dozens of wounded soldiers filled the hallways as she left the building. She recalled seeing "all those soldiers bloodied. Standing and sitting around the hospital floors".

Federal Government Employees
From the Pearl Harbor Battle

Hickam Field
August Akina, 37
Philip Ward Eldred, 36

Pearl Harbor
Tai Chung Loo, 19

Red Hill
Daniel LaVerne, 25

MAUI RESIDENT, FLORENCE TAKEDA was 11 years old when she first heard about the attack. She remembered that armed soldiers on the road told them to return back home during a day trip that Sunday morning. "It was kind of a shock". Under martial law she remembered that there was no more Japanese school on Saturdays and Sundays. The schools were closed right away after the attack. Buddhist priests and Japanese school teachers were taken away and arrested. The Japanese language schools never reopened till years after World War Two was over. "Why did they have to take those people" said Takeda

AT PUBLIC SCHOOL, Takeda recalled no incidents of racial attacks. "Japanese were the majority in the schools so there was not much trouble" "Sometimes being the majority helps." Takeda told how she felt about people who imply that all Japanese Americans were somehow directly involved with the Pearl Harbor attack. " How can they say we were the ones who did that? We don't have any planes or bombs! I think they are really stupid" she laughed.

ABOUT 85% of the total (48 reported dead) civilian fatalities were Asian Pacific Islanders. The largest majority were Japanese Americans at 58%. One Japanese American soldier Taro Migita, age 26, was killed near the Schofield Army Barracks. Toshio Tokusaki, age 5, lost both his legs by amputation then died shortly after. One fatality was an 8 year old Japanese American girl who was initially identified by her tiny fur collared coat. Among the civilian fatalities were two infant girls. (see casualties below) Many more were wounded.

Articles and Books
On the Pearl Harbor Battle

Strangers from a Distant Shore
Written by Ronald Takaki
Double Victory
Written by Ronald Takaki

National Parks Service USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

THE ACCUSATIONS THAT JAPANESE AMERICANS ASSISTED the Japanese Imperial Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor are supported with flimsy evidence, war propaganda, and paranoia. According to then director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover, JA's were loyal to the United States and not a military threat or potential fifth columnists. Hoover was against the internment of Japanese American's on the mainland.

ON FEB. 19th, 1942, FDR signed Executive Order 9006 that sent over 110,000 Japanese Americans living along the West Coast of the mainland US into concentration camps.

US MILITARY CASUALTIES would have been considerably less if the US government had advised the military (USN and US Army) to focus on dispersing the aircraft and ships stationed at Pearl Harbor. Instead they were tightly lined up row by row making them easier to guard against "possible" Japanese saboteurs. As a result, the US forces at Pearl Harbor were more vulnerable to air attack and suffered tremendous casualties.

ASIAN AMERICANS and Asian Pacific Islanders fought two battles in WW2. One was against fascism and the other against racism at home. Japanese American soldiers were determined to prove their loyalty to their country. The famed Japanese American unit the 100th Battalion's motto was "Remember Pearl Harbor". As war progressed the 100th Battalion or "I Puka Puka" (puka means zero in Hawaiian) became the veteran first battalion of the 442 Regimental Combat Team. The Nisei 442nd was the most decorated American military unit for its size in the history of the US Army.

VOICES OF HAWAIIAN LOCALS who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack were largely forgotten over the last sixty years. Their stories have been continuously ignored by Hollywood. Typically Hollywood does not cast Asian Americans actors to play lead characters to represent Hawaiian locals for war films. Seems that Hollywood wants to make its own war stories without Asian Americans unless they are cast as the enemy.

Click HERE to go back to Part 1.

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