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People with talent in the 100th infantry battalion

The 100th was a rare collection of people. We didn’t lose anybody. The average American unit, in those days, anytime you showed any ability or had any education or had anything, often you were promoted and then left to form another unit. Well no one’s gonna go form another unit so in the 100th everybody stayed. We didn’t lose anybody and when you stop to think of the educational average in our group was very, very high. He later became the first sergeant of B Company, but at the time, when we were training, he was my platoon sergeant, my platoon sergeant was a graduate of the Texas law school. He later became the first Japanese American federal judge in Hawaii; he became the judge of Maui, that’s after the war. But a man of that caliber is a platoon sergeant and then later a first sergeant, no you don’t have law school graduates in the average outfit, you know. But we had all kinds of people with talent.


100th Infantry Battalion 442nd Regimental Combat Team armed forces military United States Army World War II

Date: August 28, 1995

Location: California, US

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Colonel Young Oak Kim (U.S. Army Ret.) was a decorated combat veteran as a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II and a respected community leader. He was born in 1919 in Los Angeles, CA to Korean immigrants.

Following the outbreak of war, he was assigned to the “all-Nisei” 100th as a young officer, but was given a chance for reassignment because the common belief was that Koreans and Japanese did not get along. He rejected the offer stating that they were all Americans. A natural leader with keen instincts in the field, Colonel Kim’s battlefield exploits are near legendary.

Colonel Kim continued to serve his country in the Korean War where he became the first minority to command an Army combat battalion. He retired from the Army in 1972. He was awarded 19 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, and the French Croix de Guerre.

Later in life, Colonel Kim served the Asian American community by helping to found the Go For Broke Educational Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum, the Korean Health, Education, Information and Research Center and the Korean American Coalition among others. He died from cancer on December 29, 2005 at the age of 86. (August 8, 2008)

Robert Katayama
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Robert Katayama

Being ordered to keep a diary that was later confiscated, ostensibly by the FBI

Hawaiian Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

The day Pearl Harbor was bombed

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Father as prisoner of war in hospital

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Mr. Finch, godfather of the 442nd

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara
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Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara

Importance of education in achieving redress for incarceration

(1919-2014) Activist for civil rights and redress for World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Wakako Nakamura Yamauchi
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Wakako Nakamura Yamauchi

Her experience as a Japanese-American schoolchild in Oceanside, California, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

(1924-2018) Artist and playwright.

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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Finding his relative among Japanese prisoners

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

442 soldiers visiting U.S. concentration camps

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Teaching at the military language school during World War II

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Devastation in Tokyo after World War II

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Change in attitudes after World War II

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Family's deportation from Peru to U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Roger Shimomura
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Roger Shimomura

Dealing with racism within army unit in Korea

(b. 1939) Japanese American painter, printmaker & professor

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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Loss of happy-go-lucky adolescence in Puyallup Assembly Center

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Memories of dusty conditions at Minidoka incarceration camp

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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