On Sunday, September 8th, the story of the NVC veterans’ legacy and the Japanese American Experience was shared with all who attended the NVC luncheon with 7th Infantry Division soldiers stationed at JBLM and visiting Japanese Ground Self Defense Force soldiers. This 7th annual luncheon honored active military soldiers at the JBLM military base and Japanese soldiers participating in the Yakima Range Live Fire Drills. It is an annual opportunity for active military soldiers to hear stories from NVC’s veterans about their experiences during WWII, Korean War, Viet Nam War, and current conflicts in which NVC members have participated.
Nisei Veterans Committee members in attendance include: Mickey Hiroo, Frank Hori, Jimmy Kanaya, Kim Muromoto, Frank Shig Tanagi, Frank Nishimura, Sab Tsuboi, Tosh Tokunaga, Sat Ichikawa, Ats Kiuchi, Frank Muramatsu, Ben Yorita, Tak Akiyama, Ed Horikawa, John Fujinari, Nobuo Koshiyama, Walt Tanimoto, Dale Kaku, and Allen Nakamoto.
Also in attendance were: Yoichiro Yamada, Seattle Consulate General of Japan; Marc Knapper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea and Japan; Peter Kelly, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies; Christopher Rodeman, USA Director of Japan US Military Program for the Sasakawa Foundation; Karen Fraser, former Washington State Senator for the 22nd District; Major General Xavier Brunson, Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division; Colonel Hideki Onogi, Commanding Officer 25th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, Northern Army of Japan Ground Self Defense Force; members of the Japan Business Association and Japan-America Society of the State of Washington (JASSW); and representatives of several Nikkei community organizations.
Through the tour of the NVC Memorial Hall, JGSDF soldiers heard, for their first time, stories about the Japanese immigration to America, beginning in 1868. The hall’s collection of photos from early 1900 were of particular interest to many.
Over 250 participants were treated to a Japanese menu from Hiroshi’s Catering and an American menu from Terry’s Kitchen. The meal offering was made possible from a donation of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation through JASSW. Following the meal, a 2013 NVC video of Sam Mitsui’s speech “Good Things Grow from Horse Manure” with Japanese subtitles was shown, receiving a standing ovation from the audience. The Japanese subtitles were made possible by Japanese students/JASSW interns, Lynette Malavolti, Mari Wilson, and Dale Watanabe. The video presentation was followed by the Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Taiko performance with a lion dance. The performance ended with audience participation of Kachashi, an Okinawan festival dance.
As always, many volunteers contributed to the NVC hospitality. From orderly parking, registrations, food and drink services, and many other considerations, each volunteer selflessly gave their best effort. Thank you to each one of you: Carolyn Peterson, Lynette Malavolti, Shiz Kaku, Dale Kaku, Shawn Brinsfield, June Nakamoto, Walt Tanimoto, Mari Wilson, Stephen Matsudaira, Ida Matsudaira, Elaine Ishihara, Dale Watanabe, Chris Sketchley, Rian Ebesugawa, Malia Kokame, JASSW interns, and all others who helped.