of the Tokugawa feudal lord system of government
in Japan. Beginning of the Meiji Era, the present
parlimentary form of gobernemtn.
earliest Japanese arrivals to America
are shipwrecked fishermen. Most go to the Kingdom
||Japan opens to
the West. Commodore Matthew Perry
sails to Tokyo, carrying a letter from U.S. President
Millard Fillmore that demands the opening of Japan
to Western trade.
emigrants to the continental United States arrive
in San Francisco. They eventually establish the
Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony.
Early immigrants bring with them the traditions
and heritage of bushido or ways of the
warrior (samurai, loyalty, pride, and honor) and
oya koko or filial piety (respect for
elders, family values, tolerance, and obligation)
still deeply engrained in second and third generation
Asiatic Exclusion League is formed
in San Francisco, marking the official beginning
of the anti-Japanese movement. The use of the term
“Yellow Peril” becomes common.
Japan and the United States reach an agreement,
known as the Gentlemen’s Agreement,
whereby Japan discontinues issuing passports to
laborers wanting to work in the United States.
Picture brides—women who
marry men in the U.S. based solely on their photos—begin
to arrive on the West Coast.
passes the Alien Land Law, which
prohibits non-U.S. citizens from owning land and
limits leasing of land to three years. Similar laws
are adopted later in other states including Washington,
Oregon, Arizona, and Texas.
Ozawa vs. U.S., the U.S. Supreme
Court extends the denial of naturalization rights
to Japanese immigrants. This prohibition is in effect
U.S. Congress passes the Immigration Act
of 1924 (Asian Exclusion Act), which prohibits
further immigration from Japan.
Iwai, known as the “father”
of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), becomes
the first member of MIS when he is recruited as
an undercover agent in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Conscription Law, affecting the drafting of all
men age 17 and over into the U.S. military, authorized
the President to enact the "Selective Training
and Service Act of 1940" to build up the U.S.
Military forces for possible war. Approximatedly
5,000 Japanese-American soldiers are drafted in
the U.S. armed forces.
Navy organizes Japanese language schools at the
University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard
University. Most of the instructors are Issei and
Komori and Richard Sakakida,
both Hawaiian Nisei, are recruited by the U.S. Corps
of Intelligence Police (CIP) and sent to do undercover
work in the Philippines.
First MIS class attends the Fourth Army
Intelligence School. Later called the Military
Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS),
the school opens its doors at the Presidio of San
Francisco with 60 students (58 Nisei and 2 Caucasian),
and with the purpose of training combat intelligence
personnel to work as translators and interpreters
of the Japanese language.
a declassified letter about recruiting of MIS
a picture of the 19411942 MIS class.
attacks Pearl Harbor. Following the attack,
FBI and local authorities begin to round up Japanese-American
community leaders in Hawaii and on the mainland.
following listing of events of importance to MISers
is based on secondary and best estimates. A few
names of individuals are listed at random for
human interest purposes. Apologies to the rest
of the 6,000 graduates who served so well.
reclassifies Japanese Americans as 4-C.
The War Department declares all Japanese-American
men of draft age as 4-C, “Enemy Alien.”
Soon after, almost all of the 5,000 Nisei in the
military, wherever they were stationed, were corralled
and treated like prisoners. Nearly half of them
were summarily discharged. The other half were put
on trains and shipped to inland military installations.
There they were assigned menial tasks as labor units
and kept under constant surveillance.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive
Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, setting
into motion the mass detention of Japanese Americans
living on the West Coast. The War Relocation Authority
(WRA) opens the first detention camp at Manzanar.
U.S. Congress passes Public Law 77-503
in March, making any violation of the military
orders under Executive Order 9066 a crime. Minoru
Yasui presents himself for arrest in
Oregon for violating the curfew regulations.
Minamoto is the first MIS linguist
to be sent overseas.
class of 45 MISLS students graduate from
the Fourth Army Intelligence School (MISLS). One
team of five men, among them Yosh Hotta,
were sent to Dutch Harbor Defense Command. From
May 1942 to August 1945, MIS linguists serve in
various commands and battles, including the Alaskan
Defense Command, South
Pacific Command, Southwest
Pacific Command, Central
Pacific Command, Southeast
Asia Command, European
U.S. Command, and Canadian Command. According
to a 1945 report by General Charles A. Willoughby,
Nisei linguists had translated 20.5 million pages
by the end of the war.
In the Battle of the Coral Sea,
U.S. forces sink a Japanese carrier and cause
heavy damage to two other carriers headed for
New Guinea. This is the first defeat for Japan.
U.S. Army organizes the all-Nisei Hawaii Provisional
Infantry Battalion. Later, it becomes known as
the 100th Infantry Battalion.
Five men from the first MISLS class are sent
to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for intelligence duty.
Gordon Hirabayashi approaches
the FBI in Washington to challenge the constitutionality
of the exclusion and curfew regulations. Fred
Korematsu is arrested in California for
violating orders to report for detention.
carrier aircraft sink all four of the Japanese
Navy’s aircraft carriers during the Battle
of Midway. Known as the “turning
point” of the Pacific War, the battle ends
with U.S. victory. MIS soldiers participate in
every major battle of the Pacific War after the
Battle of Midway.
With the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans
from the West Coast, MISLS relocates to Camp
Savage, Minnesota. Now under direct jurisdiction
of the War Department, the first class opens with
200 students and 18 instructors.
The curriculum emphasizes military aspects rather
than general knowledge of the Japanese language.
The MISLS was commanded by Commandant
Colonel Kai Rasmussen, Assistant
Commandant Colonel Joe Dickey, and Director
of Training John Aiso.
hundred and ninety-eight members of the 442nd Regimental
Combat Team volunteer for language training at MISLS.
Marines make the first amphibious landing in the
Battle for Guadalcanal and Solomon
Islands, marking the beginning of bitter
combat that continues through February 1943. Captain
John Burden, a graduate of the first
MIS class, leads MIS soldiers in battle at Guadalcanal.
Having arrived in May and June, MIS soldiers
become involved in war-front operations that begin
in New Caledonia, Australia. During the Battle
for Guadalcanal, MIS linguists interrogate the
first captured Japanese pilot.
General Willoughby, G-2. GHQ Allied Translator
and Interpreter Section was organized at Indooroopily,
Australia to evaluate and disseminate intelligence.
Col. Sydney Mashbir commanded with staff of Maj.
David Smith, Gary Kodani,
and Arthur Komori.
to December 1942
to proven values of the Nisei, it became necessary
that Col. Rasmussen, with Joe
Matsuda, start recruiting several hundred
eligible Japanese Americans from all detention camps
and Hawaii. Col. Joe Dickey with
Aki Oshida visit to recruit volunteers
from the 100th Infantry Battalion at Camp McCoy,
invade Guadacanal, under the direction of Admiral
Halsey in Noumea, New Caladonia, with Major
John Burdon taking the MISer Takashi
Miyasaki into action followed by Captain
Eugene Wright and Slim Tanaka.
Allied Translator and Interpreter Section
(ATIS), a special intelligence section,
is created and headquartered in Australia to evaluate
and disseminate information gathered and extracted
from captured documents and POWs. After the war,
ATIS moves to Tokyo and becomes the center of language
activities, with MIS linguists involved in large-scale
operations all over Japan.
Army recruits several hundred volunteers from detention
camps on the mainland and in Hawaii for the Military
Intelligence Service. Two hundred members of the
100th Infantry Battalion are transferred to the
MIS Language School.
Forces take Buna in New Guinea
after brutal island combat. Phil Ishio
U.S. War Department administers the loyalty
questionnaire at all 10 relocation centers.
The questionnaire asks Japanese-American internees
about their loyalty to the United States.
U.S. Army forms the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental
Combat Team. Eventually the 442nd and
the 100th Infantry Battalion unify and become
the most decorated unit for its size in U.S. military
forces sink eight Japanese transports and four destroyers
headed for New Guinea during the Battle
of the Bismarck Sea.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto dies when his
plane is shot down by U.S. forces over Rabau, Solomon
Islands. MIS linguists had intercepted and translated
Japanese radio traffic, which revealed the admiral’s
plans to travel to Bougainville. Yamamoto was the
commander-in-chief who masterminded Japan’s
attack on Pearl Harbor.
forces retake the island of Attu,
1,000 miles off the coast of Alaska, beginning the
recapture of the Aleutian Islands. MIS members,
Major White with Nobuo
Furuiye and George Hayashida,
participate by making spot translations of captured
documents and interrogating POWs. These actions
aid the U.S. forces in formulating an offensive
plan and shortening the campaign.
forces attack the main Japanese base in the Solomon
Islands during the Battle of New Georgia.
Captain Eugene Wright, a graduate
of MISLS, leads the MIS team that includes Mamoru
Noji. Allied forces take New Georgia
and Solomon Islands.
A combined American and Canadian force begins
assault on Kiska, one of the
Aleutian Islands. MIS linguists become part of
the task force to recapture Kiska.
Forces take New Georgia and Vella
Based on the loyalty questionnaire, separation
of internees begins. Those deemed “disloyal”
are sent to Tule Lake.
U.S. Army creates Women’s Army
Corps (WACs). Japanese-American women
are accepted into the corps. During World War
II and in the immediate postwar period, more than
300 Nisei served in WACs.
Intelligence Pacific Ocean Area (JICPOAS), opens.
Translation Section Chief was Lachlan
Sinclair. Eventually 800 MIS graduates,
including Don Oka, Nobuo
Furuiye, and James Yoshinobu,
are assigned to it.
In the New Guinea campaign, the following were
Steve Yamamoto, Buna
Pat Neishi, Salamaua
Harry Fukuhara, New Britain
Kazuhiko Yamada, Finschafen
Marines attack Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
Throughout the Battle of Bougainville,
MIS linguists’ interrogation work elicits
valuable information for the U.S. troops. Shig
Yasutake is assigned to Vella La Vella,
Solomon Islands, and William Fisher
and Roy Uyehata are assigned
U.S. forces begin assault on Tarawa and Makin
in the Gilbert Islands. MIS linguists
help gather intelligence during the attacks.
U.S. forces begin attack on Tarawa. MIS linguists
who help during the attack are Jack Tanimoto,
Frank Hachiya and Edwin
Forces begin assault on New Britain.
One MIS team lands on Arawe Peninsula toward the
southern tip of New Britain; another lands on Cape
Glouster on the western end.
Allied Forces send Merrill’s Marauders
to participate in the second Burma campaign. Fourteen
MIS linguists are assigned to this special combat
unit, which cleared ground routes in Burma so
that Allied Forces could send supplies to China.
With General Vinegar Stillwell
are Captain Chan, Yas
Koike, and Grant Hirabayashi,
during the second Burma campaign.
MIS member Roy Matsumoto is
awarded the Legion of Merit for his contributions
during this campaign.
U.S. War Department announces the reinstatement
of the draft for the Nisei in the detention camps.
At PACMIRS, Camp Ritchie, Maryland, the following
MIS are assigned: Jim Matsumara,
Kazuo Yamane, Seishin
Kondo and John Kenjo.
forces take Kwajalein and Majura in the Marshall
Islands where Howard Hiroki
and Frank Hachiya participate.
American planes destroy Japanese bases at Rabaul
(New Britain) and Truk (Caroline Islands). Admiralty
Islands are also taken by General Douglas
MIS members, including Noby Yoshimura, participate
in the Battle for Los Negros
in the Admiralty Islands, northwest of Rabaul.
S/Sgt Thomas T. Sakamoto, assigned to the 1,000
men Resconnaissance 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division,
participated in the enemy landing to capture Los
Negros Island from February 29–March 15,
1944. General Chase awarded Sakamoto the Bronze
Star for bravery. Once the beachhead for Los Negros
was secured, Noby Yoshimura and Kenji Omura followed
with elements of the 2nd Brigade. This is where
Kenji Omura loses his life.
MIS members also participate in the assaults
on Gilbert and Marshall Islands.
The Joint Headquarters of Generallissmo
Chiang Kai Shek and General Archibald
Stuart is located in Chungking, China.
MISers present are Major John Burden
and John Morozumi.
members Yoshikazu Yamada, George
Kamashiro, John Anderton,
Fabian Bower and Richard
Bagnall translate the Japanese Z-Plan
that called for an all-out counterattack in the
central Pacific. The document is considered the
most significant enemy document seized during the
war and leads to the Great Marianas Turkey
Shoot in which U.S. forces shoot down more
than 400 Japanese planes during the Battle
of the Philippine Sea. This victory is
greatly due to the translation of the Z-Plan.
forces land at Aitape, New Guinea,
eventually taking Hollandia. For
their work in the capture of the Aitape airbase,
Masato Iwamoto and Haruo “Slim”
Tanaka are awarded the Legion of Merit
and the Bronze Star, respectively. Gene
Uratsu serves in New Guinea.
Navy destroys three Japanese aircraft carriers
and 450 aircraft during the Battle of
Saipan in the Marianas Islands.
MIS members take active part in cave flushing
duties. MIS men Ben Honda and George Matsui receive
Silver Stars while Hoichi “Bob”
Kubo receives the Distinguished Service
Cross for their work convincing soldiers and civilians
to vacate the caves. MIS member Yukitaka
“Terry” Mizutari is killed
in action; he is awarded the Silver Star posthumously.
By July 1944, the U.S. Forces took over Saipan,
Tinian, and Guam in the Marinas Islands. George
Inagaki, Don Oka, Shiro
Sakai, Shigeo Ito, Tomotsu
Koyanagi, Asao Abe,
Hiroki Takahasi and James
Kai serve here, and Joseph Kinyone
loses his life.
forces take Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the Mariana
Twelve MIS linguists are attached to each of
the two regiments of the Mars Task Force
in North Burma. They not only provide language
services but also act as riflemen. Through their
efforts, U.S. obtains information about ammunition
dumps and enemy positions and movements.
First contingent of the Dixie Mission
lands in Yenan, China—the wartime headquarters
of Mao Tse Tung and Chou En Lai. Colonel
David Barrett, George Nakamura,
Sho Nomura and three other MIS
members serve with the mission to gather military
Military Intelligence Research Section (PACMIRS)
is established at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, to coordinate
the efforts of all document sections in the various
war theaters. All field documents from which information
of immediate operational value had been taken
are sent to PACMIRS for detailed scanning.
Increased enrollment and the need for larger
facilities force the MISLS to move to Fort
Snelling, Minnesota. Many new students
are draftees or enlistees from the detention camps
or from the “free” zones outside the
Myitkyina, Buma, where Herbert Miyasaki
and Kenny Yasui serve, falls.
forces take Palau Islands.
forces land on Leyte for the Battle of
Leyte Gulf. In the largest naval battle
of the Pacific War under the command of Admiral
Raymond Spruance, U.S. forces destroy most of
the remaining Japanese naval forces. Due to MIS
translation of the Z-Plan, the Japanese Navy’s
defensive plan for the Philippines was already
well known to the Allied Forces. Hundreds of MIS
linguists, including Hakumasa Hamamoto,
Walter Tanaka, Fred Nishitsuji,
serve in the Leyte campaign. Warren Higa
and Ralph Saito serve in Dulag.
Under General Ike Eisenhower, Major John
White, Kazuo Yamane,
George Urabe and Pat
Nagano serve at Supreme Headquarters
Allied Expeditionary Forces in Paris, France,
to intercept communication between Japan and the
Japanese Embassy in Berlin.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team (including
the 100th Infantry Battalion) rescues the 36th
Infantry Division (“Lost Battalion”)
after five days of continuous battle. The 442nd/100th
unit suffers more than 800 casualties to rescue
the 211 Texans.
Forty-seven Nisei, three Caucasians, and one Chinese
American of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs)
report to Fort Snelling for Japanese language training.
They are trained in written Japanese to qualify
Abe serves in Mindaneo and William
Dozier and Stanley Shimabukuro
serve in Leyte.
U.S. forces retake Leyte. MIS linguist Frank
Tadakazu Hachiya is killed in action;
he is awarded the Silver Star posthumously.
forces invade Lingayen Gulf, Luzon,
in the Philippines with Susumu Toyoda
and Yukio Kawamoto participating.
Working together with Filipino guerilla soldiers,
several MIS teams participate in the battle of
northern Luzon to provide key strategic intelligence.
At S-2, Japanese Military Intelligence Division,
Canadian Army, Vancouver, Canada requests services
of MISers Dye Ogata and Ted
Kihara as instructors in Japanese.
In Hood River, Oregon, the American Legion removes
the names of 17 Nisei soldiers from the community
Exclusion orders on Japanese and Japanese Americans
from the West Coast are revoked.
forces retake Bataan, Philippines. The MIS team
attached to the XIV Corps enters Manila.
forces retake Manila and Corregidor in the Philippines
where MIS linguist Harry Akune parachutes into
battle. Other MISers were Norman Kikuta, Milton
Tanizawa and Tom Kadomoto. Shizuo Tanakatsubo
participates in Mindoro and Moffet Ishikawa
serves in Panay, Philippines.
American planes firebomb Tokyo.
U.S. Marines take the island during the Battle
of Iwo Jima. More than 50 MIS men serve
with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions. They
convince many Japanese soldiers to surrender.
The MIS men include Manny Goldberg,
Terry Doi, and Tadashi
Ogawa who convince many Japanese to surrender.
the final amphibious landing, U.S. forces attack
more than 130,000 Japanese soldiers in the Battle
of Okinawa. MIS translations contribute
to the shortening of the Okinawan campaign. In
one instance, translation of the Japanese defense
plan for Okinawa, including a signal codebook,
gives U.S. forces information about defense strategies
and troop positions. MIS linguists also translate
a chart showing the artillery locations and heavy
mortar positions of the Japanese defense line
that had withstood repeated American assaults.
Many MIS soldiers had relatives in Okinawa.
Vic Nishijima, James
Shigeta, Hiroshi Mukae,
Tom Matsui, Ben Hazard,
Wally Amioka, Warren and Takehiro
Higa, Warren Sukuma,
Leg Nishiyama, Ralph Saito,
and Dan Nakatsu participate. Mitsuo
Shibata, Eddie Fukui,
and Ben Kurokawa are
killed in action.
forces retake Okinawa.
B-29s drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima
(August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9).
The Soviet Union enters the war against Japan
and invades Manchuria (China).
Paul Otaki, Ardaven
Kozono, and Yoshito Iwamoto
serve in the Philippines. Shoichi Nakamura
General Tomoyuki Yamashita surrenders in North
Luzon where MIS soldier Koyoshi Fujimori
Japan formally surrenders (September
2). Representatives of the Japanese government
sign the formal instrument of surrender aboard
the USS Missouri. Three MIS officers,
Tom Sakamoto, Noby Yoshimura,
and Kiyoshi Hirano are on board
Singapore surrenders to Lord Louis Mountbatten
with MISer Tim Hirata present.
More than 5,000 MIS Nisei participate in major assignments
covering military government, disarmament, intelligence,
civil affairs, land reform, education, and finance
during the Allied Occupation of Japan
(1945–1952). They also help develop the Japanese
Defense Command issues Public Proclamation
No. 24 revoking exclusion orders and military
restrictions against Japanese Americans.
Detention camps at eight cities close.
enrollment hits its peak, with 160 instructors and
3,000 students. With the surrender of Japan, the
school shifts focus from military to civil affairs
courses to provide linguists for the Occupation.
Congressional Medal of Honor is awarded to a Japanese
American for the first time. Sadao Munemori, killed
in action, receives the medal for his heroic actions
during a battle in the Apennines, Italy.
Lake, the last of 10 U.S. detention camps, closes.
The International Military Tribunal
begins the war crimes trials in Tokyo. Other trials
take place in China, the Philippines, French Indochina,
and the East Indies.
More than 70 linguists, mostly from MIS, provide
translation services for the war crimes tribunals
and act as interpreters for the trials. Nisei
are also assigned as defense attorneys and defense
the U.S. Army Language School,
MISLS moves from Fort Snelling to the Presidio of
President Harry Truman honors the 442nd Regimental
Combat Team at the White House.
the opening of Japanese repatriation ports, MIS
Nisei assist in the processing of six million Japanese
returning to Japan from Siberia and other regions.
315 Japanese-American draft resistors receive a
presidential pardon from President Harry Truman.
the Korean War (1950–1953),
Japanese Americans, including many Nisei veterans
of World War II, report for active duty. Among those
are several hundred MIS members, who are dispatched
to the frontline units to perform intelligence work.
the Korean War, MIS members serve in various capacities
all over the world. Some stay in Japan for years,
working in the U.S. military, American government
service, or in private industry. Others return to
the United States having been discharged from the
army to restart their lives.
signs the peace treaty with the United States and
47 other nations.
Congress passes the McCarran-Walter Immigration
Act, granting Japan a token immigration
quota and allowing Issei to become naturalized citizens.
instructor John Aiso becomes the first Japanese-American
judge on the mainland.
K. Inouye, who fought with the 442nd Regimental
Combat Team, becomes the first Japanese-American
senator. Spark Matsunaga becomes
the first Japanese-American congressman from Hawaii.
U.S. Army Language School reorganizes and becomes
the Defense Language Institute (DLI).
Twenty-five languages are taught with graduates
serving all over the world as foreign language specialists.
passes the Immigration Act of 1965.
For the first time, legislation considers Asians
equal to Europeans in immigration matters.
honor of all Nisei soldiers who died in World War
II, the U.S. Army dedicates Nisei Hall
at the Defense Language Institute.
The first annual Manzanar Pilgrimage
takes place, inspiring pilgrimages to other camps
in later years.
Richard Nixon signs Executive Order 11652,
which begins the process of declassifying all military
intelligence documents gathered during World War
Islands including Okinawa are restored to Japan,
ending America’s 27-year occupation.
Y. Mineta, who served in U.S. military
intelligence during the war, is elected to the U.S.
House of Representatives and becomes the first mainland
Japanese American in Congress.
of Infamy, one of the most widely read and
influential books on the Japanese-American internment
experience, is published.
A national movement for redress and reparations
begins with the Japanese American Citizens League’s
adoption of a resolution that called for redress
and reparations for the internment of Japanese Americans.
Language Institute dedicates buildings to three
MIS Nisei: Yukitaka “Terry” Mizutari,
Frank Tadakazu Hachiya, and George Ichiro Nakamura.
They are each awarded the Silver Star posthumously.
hearings involving more than 750 witnesses take
place in Washington, D.C. as part of an investigation
of Japanese-American internment during World War
II. Some consider this event as a turning point
in the redress movement.
Korematsu, Minoru Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi
file petitions to overturn their World War II convictions
for violating curfew and evacuation orders.
Institution opens “A More Perfect
Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution.”
The special exhibit examines the constitutional
process through the Japanese-American internment
U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil
Liberties Act. The act recognizes that
the internment of Japanese Americans was “motivated
largely by prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure
of political leadership.” It provides for
individual payments of $20,000 to each surviving
internee and a $1.25 billion education fund.
President George Bush signs into law an entitlement
program so that redress payments can be automatically
funded and all payments made by the end of 1993.
Prior to this law, no money had been appropriated
to make the payments.
First redress money and a government apology are
presented to the oldest recipient at a ceremony
in Washington, D.C.
President Bill Clinton signs the 5 million dollar
Civil Liberties Public Education Fund.
The program provides initial monies for the development
of public education activities about the Japanese-American
U.S. military awards the Presidential Unit
Citation to MIS members who served during
World War II—more than 50 years after the