Japanese American Veterans Association

e-Advocate

Vol. 4, No. 51, September 1, 2022

Nisei Proved Their Loyalty in WWII and did More.  Sansei and Yonsei Built on Nisei Achievements.

President Truman reviews the 442nd RCT at the Ellipse, July 15, 1946. Photo: U.S. Signal Corps. 

JAVA Research Team (JRT), Terry Shima

Washington, D.C. When Japan attacked Hawaii on December 7, 1941, the White House, War Department, U.S Congress, and the American public branded ethnic Japanese in the United States as spies and collaborators for Imperial Japan. Draft classification for Japanese Americans was changed to 4-C, alien, which banned them from enlisting in the U.S. armed forces. Nisei drafted before World War II and residing along the Pacific Coast states were discharged, those in the interior U.S. were given menial assignments such as cleaning latrines, and 1,432 Nisei draftees in the Hawaii Territorial Guard, later designated the 100th Infantry Battalion, were shipped to the mainland for training and deployment to Italy for combat. 120,000 ethnic Japanese, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were rounded up from the Pacific coast states on short notice and placed in internment camps guarded by sentries on the ground and in watch towers with machine guns. Separately, over 5,500 ethnic Japanese on the FBI suspect list were arrested and detained in camps run by the Department of Justice.

Japanese Americans, individually and groups, petitioned the government to allow them to serve in combat to prove their loyalty. For this and other reasons, such as the superior combat training record of the 100th Battalion and the strong performance of Nisei linguists who volunteered for secret intelligence duty in the Asia Pacific Theater convinced Washington to form the 442nd Regimental Combat Team consisting of 4,000 Nisei volunteers from Hawaii and the mainland, many from internment camps. Many Nisei with college degrees volunteered because of JACL’s (Japanese American Citizens League) promise to help open the executive level job market then closed to Nisei. Finding jobs for Nisei graduates, many with advanced degrees, was a pressing concern for JACL’s Executive Secretary Mike Masaoka, during his final days in Italy before his discharge from the 442nd RCT.

Three thousand Nisei volunteers, from Hawaii and the mainland, including many who studied in Japan, served in the Asia Pacific theater many in the combat zones fighting soldiers of their parents’ homeland. They translated captured documents, interrogated prisoners of war, intercepted enemy communications, prepared propaganda, and entered caves to persuade soldiers to surrender. Nisei served in the second or third wave of nearly every marine and infantry invasion to provide commanders tactical intelligence information in real time for counteraction, served in every unit which needed language support, in the special forces in Burma, in the caves of Yan’an, China interrogating Japanese captured by Chinese Communists. Each Nisei linguist in the Pacific combat zone was protected by a white bodyguard; each of them and white officers of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd RCT were instructed to report any evidence of Nisei disloyal acts.  Another 3,000 Nisei linguists served in stateside assignments.

Following training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the 442nd, minus the first battalion, was shipped to Italy where they merged with the 100th. While the 100th retained its unit designation, it served as the first battalion of the 442nd RCT. After one campaign in Italy, the 442nd RCT, including the 100th BN, was shipped to the Vosges Forests section of France to engage the Germans in the southern front of a two-front war. Displaying combat smarts, winning difficult battles assigned to them, and accepting assignments other units declined to handle, the 442nd RCT won the respect of their fellow white infantrymen and officers from other units.

When so many combat commanders requested the assignment of the 442nd RCT to serve in their commands, the question of Nisei loyalty became a moot point. In addition to serving as riflemen and military intelligence, Nisei were sprinkled in small numbers in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Merchant Marines, WAC, Nurses Corps, and five who served as gunners in U.S. bombers flying into heavily armed German strongholds. According to the War Relocation Authority, 31,000 Japanese Americans served in uniform during WW II. Japanese Americans were the only ethnic group that went into combat during WWII to prove their loyalty. When War ended, no ethnic Japanese was convicted for collaborating with the enemy. No Nisei was court-martialed for desertion.

Shortly after Germany surrendered, the War Department reportedly made two major widely publicized announcements, press releases of which are being sought:     

1) The 442nd Regimental Combat Team including the 100th Battalion, was the best combat soldiers in the history of the U.S. Army.

 2) The 442nd Regimental Combat Team including the 100th, was the most highly decorated U.S. Army unit for its size and period of combat during WWII.

It is my view that these two U.S. Army announcements validated Nisei loyalty.

President Harry S. Truman reviewed the 442nd RCT on July 15, 1946, at the Ellipse, the outer south lawn of the White House. He told the Nisei, “You fought not only the enemy abroad, but you fought prejudice at home – and you have won. Keep up that fight and we will continue to win.” Through his remarks and personal review, Truman confirmed the Army’s validation of Nisei loyalty and removed from the table the stigma of ethnic Japanese disloyalty placed there when the war began. The first person known to the writer to make this observation was JAVA Vice President Colonel Vic Mukai, USA (Ret),around 2004.

When WWII ended President Truman decided to reorganize the federal government “to equalize treatment and opportunities especially for African Americans” while also recognizing the special wartime contributions of other minorities, such as the Nisei, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Navajo Code Talkers, the Chinese American pilots who flew the Hump to deliver war material to China, and Filipino soldiers who served under General MacArthur’s command during WWII. These combined achievements served as the backdrop to Truman's Executive Order 9981 issued on July 26, 1948, two years after he reviewed the 442nd RCT. This landmark Executive Order, which desegregated the armed forces, said “There shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” This order leveled the playing field equally for all. Randy Sowell, an archivist at Truman Library observed that “the contributions of U.S. minority groups to the military effort in World War II contributed to the postwar movement to end discrimination against those groups in the armed forces and in U.S. society at large. President Truman was disturbed by reports of mistreatment of Black and Nisei veterans by civilians after the war.

JACL Executive Secretary Masaoka must have been pleased that his prayers were answered in E.O. 9981. Because of E.O. 9981, a few Nisei but predominantly Sansei and Yonsei, third and fourth-generation Japanese Americans, now would be found in all branches of service, in the cockpits of fighters and bombers as pilots, in the bridges of naval vessels, and in sensitive war planning staff positions. During WWII their assignments were limited to the U.S. Army and the highest Nisei rank was Major.

Following the Vietnam War over 40 predominantly Sansei and Yonsei were promoted to generals and admirals with one, a Sansei, serving as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, a four-star position once held by General George C. Marshall. Over 80 other Asian Pacific Islanders, whose WWII performance also helped make E.O. 9981 happen, would also achieve flag rank.

The civilian side, led by a few Nisei but predominantly Sansei and Yonsei, would witness similar breakthroughs. Thanks to the Nisei WWII endeavor, discriminatory laws were repealed, our alien parents were now permitted to become U.S. citizens; members of the US Congress, now confident of Nisei loyalty, passed the Hawaii statehood bill. The Commission of Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, mandated by the U.S.Congress concluded that internment was not necessary, that it was caused by war hysteria, racial prejudice, and the failure of political leadership. President Reagan offered a formal apology for the internment. Nisei WWII soldiers received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor the U.S. Congress can bestow.

Additionally, Senators selected a Japanese American to serve as president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, a position, that constitutionally put Senator Daniel Inouye third in line for the Presidency. Sansei and Yonsei remain vigilant to defeat racism executed against Asian and non-Asian minority groups. The Nisei, Sansei, and Yonsei story speaks to the Greatness of America. God Bless the USA.

[EdNote. Terry Shima, 442nd Public Relations, joined JAVA around the year 2000, served as Executive Director from 2004 – 2012, and has since served on the Board of Directors, in committees -- all the while studying the ethnic Japanese issues during WWII. He continues to be interviewed for the press and TV. We have asked Terry to write an article on the loyalty issue: did the Nisei achieve their loyalty goal of WWII and how did the post-WWII generations acquit themselves?  If your views are at variance or in accord with Terry Shima’s we would be pleased to hear from you.]

Aloha from Granges-Aumontzey, France

Opening screenshot of YouTube video featuring "Aloha" song by retirement home residents of L'Accueil de la Vologne in Grangand and 4th and 5th grade elementary school students from Biffontaine and La Chapelle devant Bruyereses-Aumontzey, France. Image: Screenshot https://youtu.be/1ZY6TMEyg6Q.

Dear JAVA Members and Friends, 

Below is an email JAVA recently received which includes a link to a video featuring a song created by the retirement home residents of L'Accueil de la Vologne in Grangand and 4th and 5th-grade elementary school students from Biffontaine and La Chapelle devant Bruyereses-Aumontzey, France. The song is part of a larger effort to ensure the story of the 442nd's liberation of Bruyeres and the Battle of Biffontaine are not forgotten. Please feel free to contact Marion Keiffer Rys at alohagranges@gmail.com to share your thoughts about the video, https://youtu.be/1ZY6TMEyg6Q.

Hello,

My name is Marion Kieffer Rys, organizer and coordinator of projects: Memories and Perspective at the retirement home, L'Accueil de la Vologne in Granges-Aumontzey in France. Granges-Aumontzey is situated 10km from Bruyeres and 11km from Biffontaine.

Today we would like to introduce you to 'Aloha', a song written and created by the residents of our retirement home. This grassroots project began in our retirement home, thanks to the three residents who visited Hawai’i in 1976 to celebrate the sister relationship between Bruyeres and Honolulu.

Through the residents of our retired home, I learned what had happened during WWII, the liberation of Bruyeres and Battle of Biffontaine by the Japanese-Americans from Hawai’i and mainland USA. I was intrigued by the story, which was unknown to general public. I felt that it was absolutely needed to give a value locally to honoring the Japanese-American soldiers.

This extraordinary history needed to be revived for the majority of the population. It was important to highlight our residents' knowledge and transmit directly to the younger generations, from kindergarten to high school. Everyone in the retirement home was involved in the project, as well as professionals in education, and many children participated and were inspired.

The project involved many aspects, such as a historical exhibition on the liberation of Bruyeres and the Battle of Biffontaine, elders visiting the local schools to transmit their knowledge on the Japanese-Americans during the war,a Hawai’ian-inspired lunch, conferences and storytelling. These activities can be seen on the video. The final part of the project was the creation of the song 'Aloha' under the supervision of Jack Simard, Musician, and arrangement by Yannic Villenave.  

As the ending of the project, it was very important for us to be able to creatively express gratitude to the Japanese-American soldiers.

In first part of the song Lucette Lievaux explains what the word Aloha means, and speaks about the Japanese-American soldiers and how we should never forget them. She did this spontaneously, without writing. The words came naturally because her encounter with the Japanese-American soldiers and visiting Hawai’i have been important to her.

The first spoken verse was written and read by Jacqueline Gérard, who was in Bruyeres during the war when she was a child. She wrote this passage based upon her own experiences, hiding in the basement feeling scared and being liberated by the Japanese-American soldiers. She is very thankful towards Japanese-Americans and still thinks of them with fond memories.

We would like to share our Aloha through this video as a symbol of our appreciation.

I am aware that perhaps certain elements don’t seem to correspond to the historical facts or show a lack of understanding towards the event. We did our best to be informed locally by the Association de Chemin de la Paix, Bruyeres. This song represents our deep respect for the Japanese-American soldiers and what today’s children imagined they went through.

We would love this video to be shared with veterans and their families. Please kindly share the link with them. And, if it is not too much to ask, we would be very happy to hear from you and the people who watched the video, to learn your impressions of the song and the video. This will encourage the residents in the retirement home and the children who wrote the song, and the professionals who worked on the projects.

Thank you for your kind attention and I hope to hear from you.

Kind regards,


Marion KIEFFER RYS

Save the Date!

JAVA Fall Luncheon 

October 22, 2022

"The Legacy of Norman Mineta"

Join us on Saturday, October 22, 2022, to hear Eric Federing, Former Mineta Press Secretary, share his reflections on "The Legacy of Norman Mineta." 


Saturday, October 22, 2022

11:30 am - 1:30 pm 

Meiwah Restaurant

4457 Willard Avenue

Chevy Chase, MD

Cost $40.00


Registration information will be sent out in early September!

Congratulations to MG Yee!

L-R: Command Sergeant Major Darien Lawshea, U.S. Army Signal Regiment, Major General Garrett S. Yee, Maria Yee and, Colonel Paul Howard, the Commandant of the Signal School, August 19, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of MG Yee. 

Congratulations to MG Garret S. Yee, USA (Ret), who was recently inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Signal Regiment at a ceremony in Augusta, Georgia!

July 4, 2022

Manzanar Collage

We are pleased to share JAVA member and philatelist Pete D. Sarmiento's recent commemorative July 4, 2022 collage featuring Manzanar War Relocation Camp. 

America’s Alliance with Communists During WWII

Koji Ariyoshi and Mao Zedong at Yan'an, 1944. Photo: Roger Ariyoshi. 

JAVA Research Team (JRT)

Yan’an, China and Tokyo, Japan.  During World War II, the U.S. Government formed an alliance with the Soviet Union to defeat Germany and Japan. Chinese Communists and the Japan Communist Party {JCP} leader, exiled in China, assisted Nisei MISers, as members of the U.S. Army’s “Dixie Mission,” to achieve U.S. intelligence goals.  When WWII ended this official relationship reverted to its confrontational position, however, overt wartime personal friendship between Dixie Mission personnel and the Chinese and Japanese communists endured throughout their lifetime.

Readers recall the Chinese Communists made their 5,000-mile trek from southeast China, where they were located, to Yan’an, Shanxi Province, China, because that location ensured their safety. On July 22, 1944, eighteen American military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials arrived by special plane at Yan’an. This first official U.S. government contact with the Chinese Communists, which received Chiang Kai Shek’s prior approval, was officially received planeside by Zhou Enlai, the number two leader of the Chinese Communist Party.  Zhou accorded them a cordial planeside welcome and escorted them to their quarters, caves dug in the steep hillsides (see photo below), co-located with their hosts. The communists rank and file viewed the accommodations for Americans as plush:  wooden chairs, makeshift bed, a stand for a wash basin and candlelight. The MISers who arrived that summer were Shoso Nomura and George Itsuo Nakamura, both internees from Gila River War Relocation Center, Arizona. They were followed in October 1944 by Koji Ariyoshi (see photo above), an American communist and a psywar specialist, who enlisted in 1942 and was assigned to the Office of War Information (OWI) in New Delhi. In the summer of 1945, soon after the Pacific War ended, Togo Ishii, an internee at Jerome, Arkansas, and Toshi Uesato of Waipahu, Oahu who had volunteered but was rejected for the 442nd RCT, arrived.   

Cave dwellings dug in the steep loess hills of Yan'an. Photo: Courtesy of Roger Ariyoshi. 

Mission commander Colonel David D. Barrett’s goal was to get the Communists to partner with the ruling nationalists to fight Japan. Presidential Envoy Major General Patrick Hurley and General George C. Marshall separately visited Yan’an, however, they failed to get Chairman Mao Zedong to agree. The relationship between the Americans and Communists was cordial and correct. Mao and Zhou were invited to the American mess hall from time to time to take their meals and the Communists invited the Americans to their Saturday night dances. The mission’s additional goals were to collect intelligence information on the Chinese communists, political and military intelligence on Japan, and unique weather information for bombers reportedly available only at Yan’an.  

The communists introduced the Nisei MISers to Susumu Okano, an alias for Nozaka Sanzo, head of the Japan Communist Party who escaped from Japan in the 1930s for the Soviet Union and then to China. One hundred fifty Japanese soldiers captured by the Communists were turned over to Nozaka who placed them in an education program. Nozaka arranged for these “POWs” to be interrogated by the Nisei. Nozaka, who received Japanese newspapers only 10 days after they were published in Japan, advised Ariyoshi on propaganda techniques for leaflets distributed to troops and broadcasts to Japanese field troops and the Japan homeland. The Communists welcomed this relationship with American officials because it enhanced their international recognition and stature.

In early November 1944, Nakamura volunteered to interrogate a Japanese soldier who was captured and held near the combat zone.  Riding on horseback, a team of communist cadres escorted Nakamura towards the battlefront. Upon completion of his interrogation, Nakamura received a radiophone message from the Mission about a downed U.S. pilot, Lt John Wood, near his location and whether would Nakamura escort him to the base camp. As Wood was wounded the villagers made a stretcher to carry him. When Wood met Nakamura, Wood was temporarily totally confused.  After exchanging stateside information, Wood was persuaded he was in safe hands. 

Chou used Ariyoshi more and more to exchange messages with ranking American officials, including the Commander of U.S. forces in China Maj General Albert C. Wedemeyer. Chou and Ariyoshi developed a lifetime friendship. After the war ended, Ariyoshi visited China regularly sometimes meeting with Chou. Ariyoshi formed a travel agency in Honolulu during the post-war period. Dixie Mission members were invited to China twice in March 1978 and in May 1991. On one occasion they were invited to dine with communist leaders at the Great Hall in Beijing. Nomura and Nakamura both participated in these tours. 

Dixie Mission was withdrawn on July 24, 1946. The second occasion for Nisei contact with Japan Communist Party (JCP) officials occurred during the Occupation of Japan. Following their Yan’an assignment in September 1945, two Nisei, Nakamura and Uesato, were assigned to Tokyo for Occupation duties. They called Nozaka to announce their Japan assignment. Nozaka appeared delighted to hear from the Nisei and treated them to dinner at a Japanese inn. 

Ben Suechika.  Photo: Courtesy of Joanne Suechika.

The third known occasion of a JCP official meeting a Nisei occurred in Tokyo also during the Occupation. Tatsuo Kiriyama, Chief of the Occupation JCP Tokyo branch, told a Tokyo police official he wanted to meet the Tokyo CIC Detachment chief Ben Suechika (see photo above) on Christmas eve 1946. Suechika, a Gila River internee, and his colleague went to the meeting site, a small Japanese inn located on a quiet Tokyo street. Unlike his attire of long hair and workers clothing worn during anti-government labor demonstrations, Kiriyama had his hair cut short, was dressed in a decent business suit, clean shaven, and welcomed the visitors cordially. Kiriyama expressed appreciation for SCAP’s order to release political prisoners shortly after the war. He discussed his harsh treatment in jail by the Japanese wartime police. He wanted to assure Suechika that he would guide the demonstrators to express their views forcefully but peacefully and legally. Kiriyama assured Suechika that he (Kiriyama) would not conduct any illegal acts that will cause difficulties to SCAP. Kiriyama said during his elementary school years his teacher taught them Christmas carols, which he liked, and requested they sing them together a couple of times. Now at 102, living comfortably in a retirement community, Suechika is still puzzled why the JCP leader requested to meet a Nisei intelligence officer.  

What It Means To Be Asian In America

Executive Committee Member LTC Jason I. Kuroiwa, USA (Ret), passed along a thought-provoking article, What it Means to be Asian in America, put out by Pew Research.  You can access the article at this link: https://www.pewresearch.org/race-ethnicity/2022/08/02/what-it-means-to-be-asian-in-america/.

Correction

e-Advocate Readers: Robert Horsting challenged the 800 casualties number used in the  August 3, 2022 e-Advocate. Robert is correct. We should have stated: “After a fierce 5-day battle, 211 members of the Texas Lost Battalion were rescued with the 442nd RCT suffering 54 killed (KIA)  and 293 wounded (WIA)."  We thank Robert for keeping our work factual.

Save the Date

October 22, 2022 - JAVA Fall Luncheon, Meiwah Restaurant, 4457 Willard Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD. "The Legacy Norman Mineta" with Eric Federing, Former Mineta Press Secretary. 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

November 11, 2022 - Veterans Day Program, National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII, Washington, DC. 

2022 Korean War Veterans Tribute and Speaker Forum

September 10th

Veterans Memorial Court Alliance

2022 Korean War Veterans Tribute & Speaker Forum

In conjunction with VFW Post 3670  and

Gardena Nisei Memorial Post 1961

September 10, 2022, at 11:00 am

Tanaka Farms 53803/4 University Drive, CA 92612

RSVP by August 29, 2022

Admission and Lunch are Complimentary with Confirmed Reservation

RSVP by Email to VMCAEVENTS@gmail.com or

call Kathy Hayashi at 714-393-3517

Business Casual and Dressy Aloha Attire

The program to honor Korean War veterans might be of interest to you and those who might have a Korean War veteran family member.

The program will open with a recorded welcome address by Hershey Miyamura, a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, our nation’s highest military award for valor.

There will be a photo display of the Japanese American soldiers who were Killed in Action (KIA) during the Korean War. These names are on the Korean War panel of the Japanese American National War Memorial Court located at 244 S. San Pedro Street, in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA. The Memorial Court sits between the west side of the 5-story JACCC building and the public sidewalk.

Another highlight of this program is the presentation of the Ambassador For Peace Medal from the Korean Consul General to at least four veterans, on behalf of his grateful nation.

The four JA Korean War veterans participating in the panel are Robert Wada, Bacon Sakatani, George Iseri, and Min Tonai.

Please RSVP to VMCAEVENTS@gmail.com for this event if you will be joining us, as a free lunch will be provided.


New Members

JAVA sends a warm Aloha to our new Veterans as well as new Friends of JAVA.

War Veterans

Jacob Haught, USMC

Kevin Higuchi, USA

2ndLt Robert Hobart, III, USMC

SSgt Kyle Kitagawa , USAF

SGT Ernest Nishinaka, Jr., USA (Vietnam Veteran)

MAJ Bradley Sakaguchi, MD, USA

GySgt Sharla Shima, USMC

SSG Mark T. Tsunokai, USA (Ret) 


General Members

Dr. Tanya Atagi

Kathleen Konno

Mark Matson

Kaison Tanabe

Julie Tsuye


Friends of JAVA

Wayne Inouye

Jonathan Jaworski

Samantha Kanekuni

Lindsey Pelland



Donations

JAVA offers a heartfelt thanks to our generous members and friends for their gifts, memorials, and tributes given in support of our mission, events, and scholarships. We are truly grateful.

Nancy Beck, General Operations

CACI, Inc., 2022 Day of Affirmation Wreath

Michael Enomoto, General Operations Fund

Glen S. Fukushima, The Go For Broke Spirit Photo Exhibit

Wayne and Shannon Inouye, In Memory of George Inouye, MIS

LTC Jason I. Kuroiwa, USA (Ret), General Operations Fund

CDR David Lee, USN (Ret), General Operations Fund

Robert Leggett, In Memory of Emiko Yamada Stoppe

Mark Osaki, General Operations Fund

Rex Takahashi, General Operations Fund

Metta Tanikawa, Memorial Day Program

Gerald and Nancy Yamada, Day of Affirmation 

TAPS

Jerry James Tanamachi

December 30, 1948 - August 17, 2022

Jerry Tanamachi with his mother Kikuko Tanamachi

Sandra Tanamachi

Jerry James Tanamachi was the third child and only son of Jerry and Kikuko Tanamachi.  He was born on December 30, 1948, in Harlingen, Texas.  Jerry attended elementary school at St. Paul Lutheran School in Harlingen where he was a track star in the 100 meters dash each spring at the annual Rio Grande Valley Lutheran Schools Track Meet. He later attended San Benito Junior High School where he began playing football as a halfback and excelled in the sport. There he was given the nickname “Teter” as he would teeter in and out through the football field to score touchdowns!  All of his school friends would call him Teter from that time on. To parents and family members he was Jimmy. During his high school years, Jerry also took up surfing at South Padre Island. He competed in the first surf contest in Texas in Port Aransas in 1964 and placed 3rd. During this same time, Jerry began playing and enjoying tennis. He was a talented and gifted athlete and competitor. He graduated from San Benito High School in May 1967.

Jerry married Alice Johnson in Harlingen, Texas on October 6, 1967, and they had two children, James Corey and Lori Clark. Jerry is survived by his son, Harlingen High School Head Tennis Coach James Corey Tanamachi (Rebecca Zamarripa), their three children (Ichiro, Jiro, Emily); daughter, Lori Clark Jordan,  and her three children (Brian, Courtney, Rebecca), and three great-grandchildren (Ashton, Addison, Tatum). In addition, Jerry was predeceased by his father, Jerry Jiro Tanamachi; he is survived by his mother, Kikuko Nakao Tanamachi, four siblings, Diana (Norvin” Chip” Parr), Sandra (Bruce Nakata), Deborah (Peter Galvan), and Laura (Raymond Corkill), two aunts, (Hiroko Tanamachi Edwards and Ikuko Nakao Kitayama). Jerry is also survived by friend and former wife, Alice Johnson Myers, Amy Johnson, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends (including Mark Scott, Johnny Ziegler). 

Jerry was an avid fisherman, had a green thumb, loved and spoiled his dog Red, and was a 240 Z car aficionado. He was a loving father and grandfather who always wanted his children and grandchildren to have fun playing tennis, fishing, and surfing. Jerry will be missed, remembered, and loved by many.

The last years of Jerry’s life, he worked while living in Pasadena, Texas. The Sunday before he passed away on August 17, 2022, at 7:13 P.M., he quoted from James Clavell’s Shogun, Part 1,

Like  dew I was born

Like dew I vanish

…and all that I have ever done

Is but a dream

Within a dream

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Coach Jerry Hirst Memorial Scholarship Fund, 2220 Susan Street, Harlingen, TX 78550.


JAVA sends our deepest condolences to the Tanamachi family. 


Photo of Tanamachi family when Mike Masaoka traveled to visit and stay at the Tanamachi grandparents’ home in Texas. A young Jerry James is carried by his father Jerry Jiro Tanamachi on the far left.  Mike Masaoka is the third gentleman from the left with Tanamachi grandfather, Kumazo, on Masaoka's right. On Masaoka's left is an uncle, Walter Tanamachi, who attended Uncle Saburo’s burial in Arlington with grandparents in 1948. Photo: Courtesy of Sandra Tanamachi. 

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I www.java-us.org.

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