JA Trivia Quiz
Japanese American Veterans Trivia Quiz
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Thanks also to Lisa Itagaki, curator for the National Museum's Beyond the Call of Duty: Honoring the 24 Japanese American Medal of Honor Recipients display and the new Fighting for Democracy exhibition which is now open for school visits in the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, for contributing the quiz questions.
We've posted expanded answers to the questions below. To read more about this subject, read our related story: "Japanese American Veterans" (click on the story title link to read the story)!
JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS TRIVIA ANSWERS:
1. The earliest of America’s wars that Japanese Americans served in was the Spanish American War.
During the Spanish American War, Issei were among the 268 men killed aboard the U.S.S. Maine. Nisei Nobutero Harry Sumida also served. As one of the first Japanese Americans born in the United States, Nobutero enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1891 and was assigned to the U.S.S. Indiana as a gunner. He was honorably discharged after sustaining shrapnel wounds in Cuba. At the age of 72 and a veteran of war, Nobutero was taken to Manzanar concentration camp in 1942 because he was Japanese American.
2. Japanese Americans who enlisted in the American military were separated from their units after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
In most cases, Japanese American soldiers had their weapons taken from them as they were suspected of being "disloyal"--guilty because of their ancestry. They were separated from their units and given only menial tasks. For example, in Hawai‘i, those Nisei serving in the integrated infantry regiments of the Hawaii National Guard were removed from their units in June 1942. To fight for their right to serve their country, 1,432 Japanese American soldiers formed the segregated "Hawaii Provisional Battalion," which soon became the 100th Infantry Battalion and later the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
3. Japanese Americans were not allowed to be deployed to Japan for U.S. military service.
Roughly 6,000 Japanese American men served in the Military Intelligence Service and were deployed to all areas around the Pacific Theater, including Japan. These men translated key enemy documents, interrogated Japanese prisoners of war, and convinced enemy soldiers to surrender. They were sent to Allied units including the British forces and to guerilla forces that operated behind enemy lines. Many of these men stationed in Japan played an important role in U.S. occupation of Japan for many years after the war. Because of the secret nature of their work, their role in the war was not made known until many of the military intelligence documents were declassified in 1972.
4. No Japanese American veteran received a Medal of Honor directly following action in World War II.
In 1945, American-born Sadao Munemori posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his service “above and beyond the call of duty.” His mother, Nawa Munemori, received word of her son’s death while living behind barbed wire in Manzanar concentration camp.
The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest and most rarely awarded decoration conferred by the United States upon any individual. Decades after the war, it was found that discrimination and bias had affected the awarding process. In 2000 President Bill Clinton upgraded 22 Asian American World War II veterans to the Medal of Honor. Twenty of the men upgraded had served in the segregated all-Japanese American unit—the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team.
5. In the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Japanese Americans were placed in integrated units.
Due to the sacrifices of the segregated units, the Navajo Code Talkers, the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Tuskegee Airmen, the 1st/2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment, and others during the war, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 that desegregated the American military in 1948.
Medal of Honor recipient Hiroshi H. Miyamura served in the segregated unit, the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, during World War II. Upon returning home, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in his hometown of Gallup, New Mexico. In 1950 he was sent to South Korea where he served as a corporal of the integrated 7th Infantry Regiment.