At Friday, 26 April 2019’s NVC meeting, the Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) was recognized and thanked by Major General Hiroaki Sueyoshi, through Lieutenant Colonel Fumio Takagi, the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Liaison Officer at I Corps. LTC Takagi on behalf of MG Sueyoshi the Director of Operation Support and Training Department for the JGSDF, presented a letter of appreciation to the NVC.
The letter of appreciation from MG Sueyoshi thanks the NVC for our participation in the annual bilateral Rising Thunder Exercise. The NVC has participated in this event every year since 2013. NVC Past Commander Allen Nakamoto started this program with Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) in 2013, and since 2013 the NVC has hosted the annual lunch with the JGSDF and JBLM units as part of the bilateral exercise.
The lunch program has gained notoriety and support from partners including the Japan America Society of the State of Washington (JASSW), funding from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA through the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS), and the Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP), which is administered by Sasakwa USA with support from the Embassy of Japan in the United States and in coordination with the NAJAS.
The lunch provides an opportunity for the NVC to educate Japanese and American soldiers on the Japanese American WWII experience that is not usually taught in history classes. The lunch also provides a forum to bring in WWII veterans to tell their first hand stories about their experiences during the war and incarceration for some.
During the 2017 luncheon event MIS veteran and NVC life member Shig Tanagi was talking with MG W. Burleson the 7th Infantry Division Commander about his experiences with 7ID during WWII. That led MG Burleson to invite Shig and his wife Fay Tanagi to the 7ID’s 101st birthday celebration at JBLM on January 2018 where Shig Tanagi was recognized.
This event provides the NVC and others a base to recognize and maintain the legacy of our Nisei veterans. With the help of veteran members from all era’s, family members, the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle and the community we are able to remember and honor the hardships and valor of our past and to work together to improve our future.