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Fort McClellan soldiers

While we were in the 1800th, we never asked why were you here and all that, it’s only after the war I’m finding out you know, who was in there and why they were in there and…like for instance the Fort McClellan bunch, at Fort Riley there was a bunch of Nisei soldiers already segregated. And when President Roosevelt visited Fort Riley, all the Niseis were put into a hanger and To Hori had a pictorial record of it. And I read his interview, and according to him, he says as they were marched into the hanger, outside he could see machine guns and tanks. As they got in there, all the officers had side arms and made them sit on the bleachers and were told to look straight ahead and don’t speak. Except for bathroom break - to raise your hand, you know.

And according to To, he says some of the young Niseis were from Idaho – farmers and all that – never faced discrimination like this and he says they were in tears. And the Kibeis were boiling mad. And so after President Roosevelt left after 4 hours, they got back and he says they were quiet – hardly any talking at all. Now later on, when they were…before they were sent to Fort McClellan, the Kibeis were saying, I’ve made up my mind, they’re gonna treat us as Japanese, I’m gonna be a Japanese, to hell with this country, I won’t fight for this country at all. So when they were shipped to Fort McClellan to receive training to join the 442, a bunch of them rebelled, you might say. And they had a choice, and those that really objected went one way and they were court marshaled and imprisoned.


1800th Engineer General Service Battalion 442nd Regimental Combat Team armed forces Franklin D. Roosevelt military presidents United States United States Army World War II

Date: March 25, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sojin Kim

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

Interviewee Bio

Cedrick Shimo was born in 1919 and grew up in the diverse neighborhood of Boyle Heights. He was active in the Boy Scouts, kendo and the Cougars, a Japanese American athletic club. He received his draft notice the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor while he was at graduate school in Cal Berkeley so he joined the army and signed up for the Military Intelligence Service Language School. However, when he was denied furlough to visit his mother in Manzanar, he became outraged and refused to fight overseas and was placed in the 1800th Engineering Battalion – a segregated group of German, Italian, and Japanese Americans who were considered suspect. Their role was to repair damages to roads, bridges and fences caused by combat troops during training maneuvers. He returned to Boyle Heights after being honorably discharged from the 1800th and went on to become vice-president of the export division for Honda.

On November 20, 2008, Japan awarded him The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for his efforts in promoting Japan-U.S. trade during a time of trade friction between the two countries while he was at Honda.

He passed away in April 2020 at age 100. (April 2020)

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

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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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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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Making the decision to resist the draft

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

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George Azumano
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George Azumano

Discharged from the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor

(b. 1918) Founder Azumano Travel

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

Reaction to a 1942 speech by Mike Masaoka, Japanese American Citizen League's National Secretary

(1915 - 2011) Nisei florist who resettled in New York City after WW II. Active in Japanese American civil rights movement

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