Since we are in the process of considering the consolidation of the NVC and the NVC Foundation, I feel it is important to share the results a study conducted in 2004. The objective was to gather information about “The Future of the NVC”. Our facilitator was Tsuguo “Ike” Ikeda (Veteran, Nisei) and the members of the group were: Doug Honma (Yonsei), Melissa Kanaya (Yonsei), Tyrone Nakawatase (Yonsei), Gail Nomura (UW Professor, Sansei), Harry Yoshimura (Business Owner, Sansei), Frank Tsuboi (Seattle Sansei, Sansei).
Some of the most important findings came from interviews with nine active and well-respected Nisei: Katashi Oita, George Morihiro, Tosh Okamoto, Hideo Hoshide, Bill Nishimura, Salty Mizuta, Massie Tomita, Matsue Watanabe, and May Sasaki. Below are the questions and brief summary of their responses.
What does the NVC legacy mean to you?
- Respect – respect on the battlefield, respect at home
- History of the Nisei Vets and their proud history as the legacy
- We must know the history, or we can’t talk about the future
- What the US did to us, and how we responded
- American-ness is not a matter of race or religion
- How it affected us and our descendants (who are disappearing, marrying out)
What is the mission of the NVC?
- Education -- on the lessons learned from discriminatory acts that should not have been, on what our guys died for, that what happened to Japanese Americans should not happen to other Americans
- Problem -- the NVC has 2 choices: 1) Pass it on or 2) Dissolve it. We (Nisei generation) can’t continue due to our age.
- The NVC Foundation should carry on the mission of the NVC.
- There is no option as we are getting older and fewer in ranks; we are grateful Sansei/Yonsei are ready to take over to carry on what we have built
- Do not lose the positive reputation
- Honoring the past and our JA vets; educate future generations to our history
- Set time for all members to craft a mission statement, and get all members interested and involved.
- Continue the Vets part
What would you envision the NVC organization to look like in the future?
- Make sure the Foundation will follow what we believe in: respect, loyalty, patriotism, bravery, camaraderie
- Uphold and support the rights of others in similar circumstances
- Salty recounted what the NVC looked like after the war -- organized sporting activities for the JA Community, bowling league, dances, basketball, baseball, gambling
- Focus on education, help descendants succeed in the future
- We are the ones who can stand up for Americans – not a matter of race/religion
- Education as an overall theme. We see the Sansei/Yonsei membership growing. Education can occur via the website, educational tools for teachers, Speakers Bureau, materials about the Nisei Vets, archival lending library, teaching that we are proud to be Americans, scholarships.
- Merging or joining forces with other outside community non-profits is okay, if they are organizations with common missions and goals. Organizations mentioned included: Wing Luke, Densho, UW for educational portion; Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, Seattle JACL, national organizations for heritage and civil rights portion. This would make the organization stronger.
- Put resources toward trying to educate people in our State.
- Don’t be afraid to “think big”; if the cause is great, we will succeed.
As an offspring of a Nisei Vet who grew up at the Clubhouse, I do not want to forget what the Nisei intended for the organization. I believe others share similar memories. If you would like a copy of the Think Tank Report, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.