Go For Broke is a 5-Star Movie!
Go For Broke
is a WWII movie that I had never seen until late last night. And I want to tell you right now, this movie is a Wake-Up Call to a Heroic Group of Japanese-American Soldiers. It is not just a War Movie. No, not that at all. The movie does not hide the hatred that Japanese Americans were experiencing throughout the United States after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. And this entire article is a SALUTE to all of these gallant Japanese-American Soldiers who chose to take Arms in Defense of something Greater than Themselves. And if you watch the movie, you will see why I say Japanese-American Soldiers.
Go For Broke is a 5-Star Movie!
No, when that bombing took place, all Japanese on the West Coast were RELOCATED to Relocation Camps and the conditions in them are even touched in this movie. But what makes this movie so very remarkable is that it is based on True Life.
Like True Crime and similar modern TV Shows, this movie will make you realize a lot of things. And Van Johnson comes in as a fresh new Lt. right out of OCS School as a 90 day wonder and he expects to be fitted back with the 36th Texas Unit and instead, he is put in charge as a Platoon Leader of what he wants so very much to get his hands on and that is to get his hands on the Japanese for some payback.
And besides this amazing and wonderful 5-Star Film is the shock that a German Officer has on his face when he realizes that he has been captured by a Japanese-American Platoon and Van Johnson says-Hey, didn’t you hear? Japan surrendered and the Japanese are now fighting on Our Side.
Aside from that moment, the movie is a flash from the wonderful glimpse of each Japanese-American’s past life and then, BAM! They are all thrown right into the RACE ISSUE and the Japanese Factor of WWII. And they are treated like Outcast, but their War Record speaks for itself. And even President Obama took the time to Award two Japanese-American Soldier Units with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Go For Broke is a popcorn classic and you will not be disappointed when you watch this one. And go for the total movie and not for a quick peep. The acting was very good and at times you will be smiling and at other times, you will be reminded of not only WWII, but the present for many people here in America.
And here is just a glimpse of what these wonderful Japanese-American Soldiers did and is found in the following link-
442nd Regimental Combat Team
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) was organized on March 23, 1943, after more than a year during which Americans of Japanese descent were declared enemy aliens, 4-C, by the U.S. War Department. It had taken all that time plus several key events to convince the Roosevelt Administration that these men should be allowed to enter combat for their country. Eventually, the 442nd, bolstered by the combat-hardened 100th Infantry Battalion, comprised of Japanese American draftees from Hawai’i, became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service.
The events which eventually convinced the War Department and President Franklin Rooseveltto create the segregated 442nd RCT included lobbying from significant supporters of the Japanese American community, the sterling training record of the 100th as well as the well-publicized efforts of the Varsity Victory Volunteers in Hawai’i for their year of service as volunteer labor for the U.S. Army. The need for more troops as the wars across the Atlantic and the Pacific ground on became another factor. The 100th had included about 1,400 Japanese American draftees, all from Hawai’i, as well as haole (white) officers. In early 1943, the War Department issued a call for volunteers for a segregated unit, anticipating approximately equal numbers from Hawai’i and the mainland. In fact, the there were about 1,500 from the mainland—most from behind barbed wire in American concentration camps—while an equal number of eligible young men of draft age yielded nearly 10,000 volunteers in Hawai’i, where most of the Japanese American population remained subject to prejudice and discrimination but free from mass incarceration.
Organization and Basic Training
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was organized on March 23, 1943. Within a month, 2,686 volunteers from Hawai’i and 1,500 from the U.S. mainland were in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for basic training. The 442nd included three infantry battalions, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, the 232nd Combat Engineers Company, an Anti Tank Company, a Cannon Company, Medical Detachment, and the 206th Army Ground Forces Band.
Conditions for morale-building in the new regiment were difficult from the beginning. All the commissioned officers were white and all non-commissioned officers had already been selected from the ranks of mainland troops. The Nisei from Hawai’i felt disrespected and were resentful. This potential conflict resulted in physical confrontations between “Buddhaheads” from Hawai’i and the “kotonks” from the mainland. The Hawai’i boys invented the terms, reflecting their own major religious affiliation and their claim that “kotonk” was the sound of the mainland boys’ hollow heads hitting the ground after their many fights. It mattered that Buddhaheads outnumbered kotonks two-to-one and sometimes fought in gangs. Indeed, morale was enough of an issue that high level consideration was even given to dismantling the group. It is now received gospel that visits to the incarcerated Japanese Americans in camps like Rohwer in Arkansas from the Buddhahead troops convinced them that these were men to be respected for their willingness to fight in spite of the trampling of their rights and the unconstitutional incarceration of their families. But it may also be possible that some of the fights were not so one-sided and that kotonks earned some grudging respect as a result.
One of their common struggles was confrontation with segregation and anti-black racism in the Deep South. Themselves victims of prejudice and discrimination at home, the Japanese Americans nonetheless were horrified by the deep patterns of racism evident in public accommodations such as buses and movie theaters. Their outbursts and occasional interventions on behalf of African Americans soon forced 442nd officers to reprimand the troops and remind them that they could not end Jim Crow on their own.
On May 1, 1944, the RCT, minus the 1st Battalion, left for Italy where it joined the 100th Infantry Battalion just north of Rome. The 1st Battalion had been sending troops to replace the killed and wounded in the 100th and its ranks were substantially depleted; the men still in the battalion were reserved in place as training officers for the next group of volunteers at Shelby. The 442nd entered combat north of Rome in June 1944 when it incorporated the 100th Battalion which, because of its outstanding combat record, was allowed to keep its designation. Thus, the infantry units in the RCT were the 100th, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions.
The 442nd was attached to the 5th Army under the command of General Mark Clark. The RCT drove German forces north in the heavily defended mountainous terrain of northern Italy. The younger, untested troops of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were occasionally bailed out of dicey situations by the more combat-hardened veterans of the 100th but soon enough more than earned their stripes. In August 1944 the Anti-Tank Company was separated and sent to France in a glider landing to support the Allied invasion of the Continent. In winter 1944, the 442nd fought German troops in France adjacent to the border with Germany; Hitler had ordered his troops to defend the area at all cost. The Vosges Mountains were thickly forested and bitter cold, with freezing rain and snow showers.
Deep in the forest, the 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment of the 36th “Texas” Division was surrounded by German troops and running out of food and ammunition. Major General John Dahlquist was the much reviled commander of the Division. Over 200 men of this “Lost Battalion” had been sent ahead of logistical support and were surrounded by German troops dug in and fortified. Dahlquist ordered the 442nd to enter the Vosges Mountains to attempt a rescue, after two attempts by other units had failed. After five days of horrific combat, the Texans were rescued by the Japanese Americans. The 442nd suffered casualties several times the number of men they had rescued. In the process, the men liberated the towns of Bruyeres, Belmont, and Biffontaine, whose inhabitants continue to honor the 442nd with monuments, museums, and streets named in their honor.
In April 1945, General Mark Clark of the 5th Army specifically asked for the 442nd to lead the way to break the Gothic Line, the last hardened obstacle which had turned back Allied efforts for nearly one-half year of combat in northern Italy. In a dramatic nighttime march up the steep slopes of Mt. Folgorito, the 442nd broke through the German defenses allowing the Allies to chase the German army for another several weeks when it finally surrendered on May 2, 1945. In the meantime, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion was detached and sent to support the invasion of Germany by the 7th Army. In the process, the men discovered and liberated Jews from various sub-units of the notorious Dachau extermination camp.
Aftermath and Legacy
The 100th Battalion/442nd RCT, in just over one year, compiled an astonishing combat record. But this segregated unit, almost entirely comprised of Japanese Americans, suffered an equally remarkable number, about 800, killed or missing in action. They won seven Distinguished Unit Citations, including one awarded personally by President Harry Trumanwho said, on July 15, 1946, “You fought the enemy abroad and prejudice at home and you won.” In addition, after an exhaustive survey of individual awards from WWII, twenty more Medals of Honor were awarded, bringing the total to twenty one. Over 4,000 Purple Hearts, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 588 Silver Stars, and more than 4,000 Bronze Stars were awarded to the men of the 442nd RCT for action during WWII.
The heroism and combat record of the 100th/442nd were quickly acknowledged by the general population of the Territory of Hawaii. On the mainland, however, the veterans found an uneven reception—perhaps because they returned in relatively small numbers to widely separated locations, notably on the West Coast but also to campuses and cities spread across the nation. In Hawai’i, the veterans, older, tougher, and more worldly-wise, took full advantage of the GI Bill, graduating from the University of Hawaii as well as some of the most prestigious colleges and professional schools in the nation, earning degrees in law, medicine, business, engineering, humanities and natural sciences. This was truly an explosive confluence of talent, determination, and opportunity. For Hawai’i, at least, the larger political, economic, and social impact was transformative; by 1954, the Democratic Party, led by the former GIs, was assuming control of Territorial politics. When Statehood was finally achieved in 1959, in spite of considerable opposition in Congress, some of the credit went to the Texas Congressional Delegation including Jim Wright and Sam Rayburn in the House and Lyndon Johnson in the Senate; all acknowledged the 442nd rescue of the Texas “Lost Battalion” in France during WWII as having influenced their decision.
For More Information
Asahina, Robert. Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad. New York: Gotham, 2006.
Chang, Thelma. I Can Never Forget: Men of the 100th /442nd. Honolulu: Sigi Productions, Inc., 1992.
Duus, Masayo. Unlikely Liberators: The Men of the 100th and the 442nd. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987.
Hawaii Nikkei History Editorial Board. Japanese Eyes . . . American Heart: Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers. Honolulu: Tendai Educational Foundation, 1998.
Masuda, Minoru. Letters from the 442nd: The World War II Correspondence of a Japanese American Medic. Edited by Hana Masuda and Dianne Bridgman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.
Matsuo, Dorothy. Boyhood to War: History and Anecdotes of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Honolulu: Mutual Pub., 1992.
McCaffrey, James M. Going for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers in the War against Nazi Germany. Volume 36 in the Campaigns and Commanders Series. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.
Shirey, Orville C. Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team. Washington, DC: Infantry Journal Press, 1946.
Tamura, Linda. Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012.
Tanaka, Chester. Go for Broke: A Pictorial History of the Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Richmond, CA: Go for Broke, Inc., 1981. Novato, CA : Presidio Press, 1997.
Tsukano, John. Bridge of Love. Honolulu: Hawaii Hosts, Inc., 1985.
Yenne, Bill. Rising Sons: The Japanese American GIs Who Fought for the United States in World War II. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2007.
Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Memorial Alliance. http://www.ajawarvets.org/mainmenu.cfm?stg=home.
Go For Broke National Education Center. http://www.goforbroke.org/
The Hawaii Nisei Story: Americans of Japanese Ancestry During World War II. http://nisei.hawaii.edu/page/home.
Japanese American Veterans Collection at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. http://libweb.hawaii.edu/libdept/archives/mss/aja/index.htm.
Japanese American Veterans Association. http://www.javadc.org/main.htm.
442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity. UTB Pictures and Film Voice Production. Produced by Shigeto Tarasaka. Written and directed by Junichi Suzuki. 2010. 97 minutes.
Go for Broke! Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Produced by Dore Schary. Written and directed by Robert Pirosh. 1951. 92 minutes. Viewable online at http://archive.org/details/go_for_broke_ACM.
United States President Barack Obama is shown in the below pictures from White House Archives and related Article below-
An Awe-Inspiring Chapter of America’s History
This afternoon the President signed legislation to grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the 100thInfantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II.
The 100th Infantry Battalion, which was later incorporated into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, was made up of predominantly Nisei (second generation Americans of Japanese ancestry) members of the Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion. The 442nd became the most decorated unit in United States military history for its size and length of service. Combined, the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team received 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier’s Medal, and over 4,000 Purple Hearts. From the government, the President was joined by Secretary Eric Shinseki of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Senator Daniel Inouye — himself a member of the 442nd — and several other Members of Congress.
The stories of the other veterans who attended the signing give a glimpse into this awe-inspiring chapter of America’s history:
Osamu “Sam” Fujikawa
Mr. Fujikawa was born in Alameda, California on August 23, 1925. On May 10, 1942, a few months after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Executive Order 9066 was enacted and Fujikawa and his family, along with 25,000 more Japanese Americans who lived on the US West Coast, were transported to one of the 10 internment camps scattered across the country. First, Fujikawa and his family were housed in a stable at Tanforan Race Track in San Bruno, CA and then relocated to Topaz, Utah where they were held behind barbed wire. Fujikawa was drafted into the Army from Topaz and trained at Camp Shelby, MS. Sent overseas with the 171st Infantry Battalion, Fujikawa was one of the replacements for the original 100th Infantry Battalion. When the war ended, he was among the returning Nisei or second-generation Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team to parade down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. for President Harry S. Truman’s historic homecoming welcome. Fujikawa went to work for Hughes Aircraft and in 1952, moved back to California. He was with Hughes 37 years. Fujikawa remains an active member of the 100th/442nd Veterans Association and the Go For Broke National Education Center. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Mr. Ichikawa was born and raised in Suisun Valley, California. He graduated from the University of California in Berkeley in May 1941. Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Grant and his family were incarcerated in a concentration camp. In November 1942 he volunteered from the Camp to enroll in the 6-month US Army Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Language School. Following graduation, he was sent to Brisbane, Australia and assigned to the Allied Translations and Interpretation Service (ATIS). He participated in the Philippine liberation. Immediately following Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s surrender, Lt. Ichikawa talked 250 armed Japanese soldiers to surrender their weapons. There were 3,000 Japanese Americans who served in the Asia Pacific War in every combat unit as front line interrogators/translators, in the rear echelon as translators, as communications interceptors and in the Special Forces to operate behind enemy lines. Subsequent to his honorable discharge and return to civilian life, he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War to serve in the MIS. Following his discharge for the second time, he was assigned to the US Consulate General in Surabaya and the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. In April 1975 he served in Saigon and was among the last to leave aboard a helicopter from the Embassy rooftop.
Jimmie Kanaya, Veteran
Mr. Kanaya was born and raised in Clackamas, Oregon. He volunteered for the Army in April 1941. He volunteered to form the 442nd Regimental Combat Team as a cadre First Sergeant of the Medical Detachment and received a battlefield commission in Italy, September 1944 from General Mark Clark. Kanaya was captured in France while assisting the 100th Battalion evacuating casualties in the Voges mountains and taken to a German Prisoner of War Camp, Olfag 64 in Shubin, Poland. He hiked 400 miles from Poland to Hammelberg, Germany in the winter of 1945 to escape. In July of 1946 Kanaya received a regular Army commission. Mr. Kanaya also served in Japan and Korea in the Military Intelligence Service, the occupational forces in Japan and Germany and served as a military adviser in Vietnam. He retired from military after over 33 years of service. Mr. Kanaya currently lives in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Yeiichi “Kelly” Kuwayama
Mr. Kuwayama was a member of the 442nd Regimented Combat Team in the Army Medical Unit. He is credited with saving the life of Daniel Inouye, also a member of the 442nd Combat Regiment. Mr. Kuwayama retired from the US Army as a public affairs specialist.
S. Floyd Mori
Mr. Mori was born in Murray, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City. His parents were immigrants to the United States from Kagoshima, Japan. After graduation from Jordan High School, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves and spent six months on active duty at Fort Ord, California. He served several years in the Reserves before being discharged. Mori attended the University of Southern California and Santa Monica City College. He attended Brigham Young University where he received a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree majoring in Economics, Asian Studies, and Political Science. Mori was elected to the California State Assembly in March 1975 and served for six years in that capacity as one of the first two Japanese Americans to serve in the Assembly. Mori is currently the National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL.) He is on the Executive Council of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and was chair of the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) for two years.
Mr. Shima was born in Hawaii. He was drafted into the US Army on October 12, 1944 and trained at Camp Blanding, Florida, as a replacement for the 442nd RCT. He arrived in Italy on VE Day, 1945, and joined the 442nd at the Garda Airport in northern Italy and was assigned to its Public Relations Office. When the 442nd returned as a unit to the USA in June 1946, Shima returned with the unit to handle public relations in New York City, Washington, DC, and Honolulu. New York City gave the 442nd RCT an unprecedented huge welcome, the 442nd marched down Constitution Avenue and was reviewed by President Harry Truman at the Ellipse, and they received another huge welcome in Honolulu for the deactivation of colors. Shima attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Graduate School and served in the US Foreign Service. He is Executive Director of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA).
Ms. Yamazaki was born in San Leandro, California, and is the granddaughter of 442nd RCT veteran, Dave Kawagoye. She is the Chairperson for the National Veterans Network, which is a coalition of 22 Japanese American veteran and civic organizations nationwide established to serve the interests of Japanese American WWII and subsequent war veterans. She worked to support the passage of S.1055 to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th Battalion, 442 and Military Intelligence Service. Moving forward, she and the National Veterans Network will work with U.S. Congress and U.S. Mint to plan the gold medal award presentation and celebratory events. Prior to this role, she served as the President and CEO of the Go For Broke National Education since 1997. Through her leadership, she introduced innovative education programs used in classrooms throughout California, Hawaii, as well as schools in Maryland and Virginia. She also founded the Hanashi Oral History Program which holds the nation’s largest collection of visual Japanese American World War II veteran oral histories. Approximately 700 of these oral histories are available in a digital library located on the organization’s website, many are used in the organization’s teacher-training program and all of the nearly 1,100 that have now been captured serve as valuable resources in countless other ways. Christine earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of California at Riverside and currently resides in Torrance, CA.
Go For Broke is a movie that is a must see!
And the movie is based upon teh 442nd Regimental Combat Team’s real life Combat Activities during WWII.
I sincerely hope that you won’t take my word about this wonderful and still very timely movie and take the time to watch it. It is an eye-opener into America’s Past and it is so very much current in mainstream American ways today. But will you?
My own father, grandfather, aunt, and three uncles were in WWII. And I cannot tell you how many things our parents and grandparents have done for all of us. They made sacrifices every single day of their lives. And all the Nations all over the World that fought in this Great War should never be forgotten and for all the losses all Nations lost.
But, I pray that today, the World will lower their War Rhetoric and not take us into another Great War. There’s China, North Korea, and Iran that are now all talking about War with the United States and that is not a good thing for sure. But I hope all of this rhetoric is nothing more than MASS CONTROL TALK for their own individuals Nations.
But who can say? Who knows for sure? But I will say that I do not think all of this talk will not one day lead the World into another Great War and then, what weapons will be used? And will it begin with the ones that were used last in WWII? Lord, I hope not.
Go For Broke is a 5-Star Movie!
God Bless…the living breathing James Brown, US Army Veteran, author of A Panther’s Father Book Series.