Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1337/

Writing a novel on the 442nd

Well I am writing a novel about the 442nd infantry where three of my uncles served in WWII. When I talk to my 90 year old uncle in Hawai'i, and I visited him recently, he doesn't want to talk about it. He said, "I just did what I had to do. I just did the right thing." So I'm going to be writing a novel from the perspective of my mother as a little girl. Her brothers were seven years older. And all the men suddenly from her little farm village in Kona, Hawai'i left at the same time to go off to war. It was like there were no men left. Her and her sister and her mother and all the women of the town had to get together and keep the farm going and keep the little mom and pop grocery store going. It will be from the perspective of her as a child seeing all of this happen. I've been doing interviews with a lot of veterans and veterans wives and what they experienced, love affairs and marriages and some of them cheated when they were over there. It's gonna be this meaty, lovely, passionate, tangible great story about the Japanese Americans who went to fight in World War II. So that's a book I'm writing on. I'm writing it really as... I'm thinking about it as a gift. The Jews call it a 'mitzvah'. It’s like my gift to them, to tell their story and to tell it in a respectful, honorably way.


442nd Regimental Combat Team armed forces retired military personnel United States Army veterans war World War II

Date: April 4, 2013

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Patricia Wakida

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

Interviewee Bio

Francesca Biller was born in Hawai'i and raised in Southern California to a Jewish father and Japanese American mother.

She is an award winning investigative journalist, political satirist, author, and social commentator for print, radio, and television. With a background of Japanese and Jewish, she writes about her interesting background in both an introspective and humorous way and her work has been published for The Huffington Post, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and many other publications. Awards include The Edward R. Murrow award, two Golden Mike awards, and four Society of Professional Journalists awards for Excellence in Journalism.

Biller is currently writing three books, the first a novel about the 442nd Infantry set in Hawaii, the second a compilation of humorous essays about growing up as a Japanese Jew in Los Angeles during the 1970s, and the third a Lifestyle book about how a diet of Hawaiian, Japanese, and Jewish food keeps her family healthy and happy. She is also currently on a national radio tour discussing her humorous take on politics, pop culture, and families. (August 2013)

Ariyoshi,George
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Ariyoshi,George

Prom during the war

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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Day Pearl Harbor was bombed

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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Funai,Kazuo

Japan vs. the United States (Japanese)

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Hirabayashi,James

Life in camp as teenager

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Katayama,Robert
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Katayama,Robert

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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Bombing of Pearl Harbor

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Helping soldiers

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Kodani,Mas

Fun at concentration camp

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Kochiyama,Yuri

Father as prisoner of war in hospital

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Patriotism versus loyalty

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Postcards to Nisei soldiers

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Hiding what happened in camp

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Kochiyama,Yuri

Camp as a positive thing

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Kochiyama,Yuri

Rounding up Issei and Nikkei

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Houston,Jeanne Wakatsuki

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