My Life’s Journey: A Veteran’s Memoir Recounts the Story of a Generation

Item # 150894.

By Ted T. Tsukiyama.

Like so many Japanese Americans born in the years following World War I, Tsukiyama was shaped by the Great Depression, fought with honor in World War II—even as other Japanese Americans were exiled in internment camps—and went on to contribute much to his country’s success and prosperity.

At the first signs of attack on December 7, 1941, the 21-year-old University of Hawai‘i ROTC student rushed to campus and donned the first of five uniforms he would wear through the next four years of the war. When he and other Japanese-American citizens were unceremoniously dismissed from the Hawai‘i Territorial Guard just a month later, Tsukiyama became a founding member of the Varsity Victory Volunteers, the first volunteer all-Nisei unit of WWII, went on to join the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and was recruited as a military intelligence operative in the jungles of Burma. He was discharged in 1946 and subsequently became the first Japanese American to enroll at Yale Law School.

During a distinguished legal career lasting more than a half-century, which included international recognition as an expert in alternative dispute resolution, Tsukiyama also devoted himself to chronicling the rich and complex Nisei experience. “I was goaded by the question,” he says, “‘What did it mean, both to us who shared this experience and to the wider community and to history?’” At age 96, after helping so many others share their stories, Ted has finally chronicled his own for posterity. Paper: 160 pp




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