The Akune brothers: Siblings on opposite sides of war - Wendell Oshiro
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You can watch the video interviews of Harry and Kenjiro Akune via the Densho Digital Archives.
Further searching through the Densho Digital Archiveswill lead to other Japanese-American soldiers, their interviews and experiences during the war. Watch the interviews and learn!
The documentary movie, MIS: Human Secret Weapon, was released in theaters in 2012. The movie’s website provides some background information, archival photos, and video snippets.
It was not uncommon for Japanese-American families to be divided by the war. Another well-publicized set of brothers was the Oka Brothers. There were seven of them, all born in the United States, all American citizens. Five would go on to fight for the United States, two for Japan. You can read the article and watch a short video of Don Oka, one of the brothers who fought for the U.S. You can also find video interviews of Don Oka on the Densho Digital Archives site.
Japanese-American soldiers were heavily involved in the European theater during WWII, most notably the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, segregated units of Japanese-American soldiers. Their famous motto was “Go For Broke” and they earned the distinction as being the most decorated military unit of its size in U.S. history. Much has been written and shown of their accomplishments. You can read about their exploits here.
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed by President Ronald Reagan to redress the wrongs done by the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. The act provided monetary compensation to surviving Japanese-Americans and their families who were interned during the war. You can watch President Reagan’s speech and learn about this act.
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