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NVC TAPS

January 2020, Volume 70, Issue 1

JOHN H. IWAI

John was born in Auburn, WA on April 25, 1931, and passed away December 16, 2019. An avid ukulele player, John was a member of the NVC; his brother Hisashi Iwai was with the 442nd and is honored on the NVC KIA Wall. John is survived by wife Arlene, son Steve (Rebecca), grandson Shinobu Kanai and numerous nieces and nephews. A Memorial Service was held on January 11, 2020 at Faith Bible Church in Seattle, WA.

JIMMIE KANAYA

Jimmie Kanaya was born on October 3, 1920 and passed away on November 7, 2019. A Col. USA (Ret), he was a 99-year old, three war, decorated veteran who served 34 years in the Army.  He received a battlefield commission while serving with the 442nd RCT during the Italian Campaign. He was later captured in France by the Germans and imprisoned as a POW until the end of WWII.  His family was incarcerated at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho until the end of the War. He received a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Valor device and Two Oak Leaf Clusters. Later he received the Congressional Gold Medal as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

He served in Occupied Japan in the Military Intelligence Service as a translator /interrogator at General Headquarters in Tokyo.  He was attached to ATTIS 8th Army (fwd.) United Nations offensive and United Nations Campaigns in Korea.  In July 1962, he was attached as the Medical Department Operations and Training Advisor to the Vietnamese Army Medical Branch, MAAG.  Jimmie retired in 1974 from his last position as Deputy Commandant, Medical Training Center Fort Sam Houston San Antonio, Texas. His service would pave the way for future generations of Japanese American serving in the Military. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Jimmie is survived by his wife Lynn and brother Enoch. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, to kindly send donations to a scholarship fund set up in his honor: Col. Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship Fund, c/o Japanese American Veterans Association, PO Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827. Donations may also be made in his memory to: Nisei Veterans Committee, 1212 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98144.

DR. SHUSO "SHOES" KUMATA

On September 28, 2019, Dr. Shuso "Shoes" Kumata passed peacefully into the arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ following a brief illness. He was 91. Shoes was born in Seattle, Washington in 1928. In 1942, he and his family were removed to the incarceration center in Minidoka, Idaho. Despite the upheaval, he enjoyed his early high school years in "camp", participating in sports and doing seasonal farm work.

At the end of WWII, Shoes moved with his family to Illinois where he graduated from Rock Island High School. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as an interpreter with the Occupational Forces in Japan. Utilizing his GI bill, he attended the Chicago College of Optometry. Following graduation, he married Edna Ishimoto and the couple moved to California. In 1959, Shoes opened his optometric practice in Corte Madera, California where he enjoyed caring for his patients until his retirement in 1996.

Shoes is survived by his son Dennis (Leslie), his grandsons Drew (Alyssa), Chris (Nicki) and Danny; as well as his sister, Kikue. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of over 50 years, Edna; his brother and sister in-law, Hideya and Lillian; and his parents, Hachiro and Masao.