Most people are familiar with the plight of Japanese-Americans during World War II. More than 100,000 of them were unjustly interned in camps for the duration of the war. But not every one is familiar with the heroics and sacrifices of the thousands of young American men of Japanese descent who bravely served in the war. A new book by photographer Shane Sato hopes to change this.
Entitled The Go for Broke Spirit, the book retells the stories of living Japanese-American veterans, alongside moving portraits of these great men. Sato says that the purpose of the book is not only to educate the public about what these men did for our country, but also to preserve their memory.
These men were second-generation Japanese-Americans — Nisei they were called — who went off to fight for their native country, in spite of the hardships suffered by their friends and families at the hands of the same government they served.
Sato’s book details the heroics of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was a fighting unit composed primarily of Japanese-Americans. For its size and length of service, it was the most decorated unit in the history of the United States military. Their motto was “go for broke,” and it related not just for what they had accomplished on the battlefield, but also for what they planned to accomplish for themselves and their families when they got home.
Sato wrote this book from the perspective of his own family’s experiences. He had uncles and other family members who served in the 442nd, and his mother’s family spent years in an internment camp. His father further served in the Korean War. All this led him to create this unique and special book.
It is a book that will surely illicit emotion and pride by all those who read it.