Pre-World War II service

Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, approximately 5,000 Japanese Americans were already in the U.S. Army, most having been drafted. When war broke out, some Nisei soldiers were discharged, while others were placed in noncombat positions at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. Still others were overlooked by the military bureaucracy and continued in their positions. During this chaotic time, all other Nisei were reclassified 4-C, the status of "enemy alien," and therefore became ineligible for the draft.

Military service (23)
Pre-World War II service (38)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Fighting for Tomorrow: Japanese Americans in America's Wars (exhibition), Samuel Wilder King, Tokutaro Slocum, Walter Tsukamoto

38 items
George Koshi Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1008-1-14)
vh George Koshi Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1008-1-14)
Writing to father while in the service

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

World War I soldier (ddr-densho-109-106)
img World War I soldier (ddr-densho-109-106)
The man on the left, Henry Matsumoto Jr., was the only person of Japanese descent in the U.S. Navy during World War I.
Bill Thompson Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-90-12)
vh Bill Thompson Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-90-12)
Hawaiian Japanese Americans rush to volunteer for service after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

This interview was conducted at the 1998 Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans National Convention, held in Honolulu, Hawaii. Given the full conference schedule, interviews conducted at the reunion were shorter in length than typical Densho interviews and concentrated on a single topic ...

Ben Kuroki - Shige Kuroki Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-122-21-3)
vh Ben Kuroki - Shige Kuroki Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-122-21-3)
Reasons for wanting to fly a B-29 in combat, the only Japanese American to do so

This interview was conducted by filmmaker Frank Abe for his 2000 documentary, Conscience and the Constitution, about the World War II resisters of conscience at the Heart Mountain incarceration camp. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically ...

Selective Service training (ddr-densho-114-83)
img Selective Service training (ddr-densho-114-83)
Original caption: Selective Service man of Japanese ancestry learns to "hold and squeeze" - Reception Center, Hawaii. [According to Robert Sato, this photo was taken before 1941.]
Soldier and mother (ddr-densho-151-45)
img Soldier and mother (ddr-densho-151-45)
Original WRA caption: Florin, Sacramento County, California. A soldier and his mother in a strawberry field. The soldier, age 23, volunteered July 10, 1941, and is stationed at Camp Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was furloughed to help his mother and family prepare for their evacuation. He is youngest of six years children, two of them volunteers ...
Nisei soldier (ddr-densho-151-312)
img Nisei soldier (ddr-densho-151-312)
Original caption: Florin, California. This American soldier of Japanese ancestry is shown at the railroad station of a small town in an agricultural community. He and nine other service men of Japanese ancestry received furloughs to enable them to come home to assist their families get ready for evacuation from their west coast homes. He is ...
Daniel Inouye Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-28-7)
vh Daniel Inouye Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1000-28-7)
Doing whatever it takes to be accepted for service

This interview was conducted at the senator's office in Honolulu, Hawaii, as part of a series of interviews with veterans attending the 1998 Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans National Convention held in Honolulu, Hawaii. Because of the full conference schedule, the interviews were generally shorter in ...

Harvey Watanabe Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1008-5-10)
vh Harvey Watanabe Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1008-5-10)
Removal and evacuation of Japanese American servicemen

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

George Koshi Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1008-1-5)
vh George Koshi Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1008-1-5)
Drafted into the army

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

Harry Umeda Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1014-10-9)
vh Harry Umeda Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1014-10-9)
Drafted in 1941, separated with other Nisei soldiers and sent to the infantry
Selective Service training (ddr-densho-114-96)
img Selective Service training (ddr-densho-114-96)
Original caption: Selective Service man of Japanese ancestry proudly looks over his daily rifle score record. Reception Center, Hawaii. [According to Robert Sato, this photo was taken before 1941.]
Takashi Matsui Interview Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-45-15)
vh Takashi Matsui Interview Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-45-15)
Being drafted when the U.S. military was refusing Japanese American volunteers
George Morihiro Interview Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-182-12)
vh George Morihiro Interview Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-182-12)
Brother's serving in the military prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor
Hiro Nishimura Interview Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-237-15)
vh Hiro Nishimura Interview Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-237-15)
Serving in the army as part of a segregated group of Japanese Americans
Taketo Omoto Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1001-12-3)
vh Taketo Omoto Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1001-12-3)
Being drafted into the army prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor
George Koshi Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1008-1-7)
vh George Koshi Segment 7 (ddr-densho-1008-1-7)
Attitude of father regarding military service: "You're an American citizen"

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

George S. Matsui Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1008-2-5)
vh George S. Matsui Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1008-2-5)
The reclassification and discharge of Nisei soldiers to an enlisted reserve unit

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

George Koshi Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1008-1-8)
vh George Koshi Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1008-1-8)
Turmoil of Japanese American servicemen: fighting while their families are behind barbed wire

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

Takashi Matsui Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1008-4-10)
vh Takashi Matsui Interview Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1008-4-10)
Being drafted when the U.S. military was refusing Japanese American volunteers

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

James Yamazaki Interview Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-175-21)
vh James Yamazaki Interview Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-175-21)
Assigned to the 106th Infantry Division

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

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