New Exhibition - Go for Broke: Photographs by Motoya Nakamura

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May 20089 Aug 200831

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
Portland, Oregon
United States

Go For Broke: Photographs by Motoya Nakamura
May 9 – August 31, 2008
at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center

To honor and pay tribute to Oregon Nisei Veterans, Motoya Nakamura, a photographer for The Oregonian, created five special portraits of 442nd RCT veterans John Murakami, Roy Maeda, Joe Onchi, Art Iwasaki, and Kazuo Fujii for the article "Fighting Prejudice on Two Fronts" (Living, Sunday, November 7, 2004). Please join us for an exhibition of these important and artistic photographs. Motoya’s vision and masterful technique created memorable works of art that honor and pay respect to these, and all, of Oregon’s Nisei veterans. Accompanying the exhibit will be special artifacts from the ONLC collection.

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the U.S. Army served with distinction during World War Two. A Japanese American unit, the 442nd RCT was the most heavily decorated unit for its size and length of service in U.S. military history. Soldiers enlisted or were drafted, many from internment camps, and served their country with distinction, many fighting in heavy combat in the European theater while their families were incarcerated in the United States. Members of the 442nd were liberators at Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Members of the MIS, the Military Intelligence Service, served in the Pacific theater as translators and interrogators. The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is proud to honor and celebrate the contributions and service of all of the Oregon Nisei Veterans who served their country with honor and extraordinary bravery.

"The motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was 'go for broke.' It’s a gambling term that means risking everything on one great effort to win big. The soldiers of the 442nd needed to win big. They were Nisei - American-born sons of Japanese immigrants. They fought two wars: the Germans in Europe and the prejudice in America...

"The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service, in the entire history of the U.S. Military. The 4,000 men who initially came in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 3.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, ultimately earning 9,486 Purple Hearts, 21 Medals of Honor and an unprecedented eight Presidential Unit Citations."

- Excerpts from the Go For Broke National Education Center website,

About the artist:

Motoya Nakamura was born in Nagoya, Japan, and came to the United States two decades ago after falling in love with J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. He saved money by teaching windsurfing ("because I do not have to wear a tie") and enrolled in the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where he studied documentary photography. He has been working as a newspaper photographer ever since: "Working for newspapers gave me tickets to unknown worlds everyday."

In 2000, Motoya joined the staff at The Oregonian, and lives in Portland with his wife and two sons. The article produced in 2004: "Fighting Prejudice on Two Fronts" published his photographs of Oregon Nisei veterans:

"I, as a new wave of Issei, started this project to document and know the Japanese-American history in the first hand. The complexity of the Japanese-American history during WWII overwhelmed me to the point when I could not take it sometimes but people's courage to face it touched me tremendously at the same time. Most of the Japanese-American WWII veterans belonged to the US Army 442nd Regimental Combat Team that were widely acknowledged to be the US Military's most decorated unit for its size and length of service. I believe that my duty as an Issei photographer is to record and honor their courage in the most difficult time in Japanese-American history for the future generation."
– Motoya Nakamura

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center (ONLC) is a Japanese American history center that preserves and shares the history and culture of Japanese Americans in Oregon. A project of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, ONLC creates and hosts exhibits, provides speakers for schools and community organizations, offers public programs, records videotaped oral histories, and preserves historic documents and artifacts.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
121 NW Second Ave
Portland, OR, 97209



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Oregon_Nikkei . Last modified Jul 09, 2010 12:11 p.m.

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