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Yankee Samurai: The Secret Role of Nisei in America's Pacific Victory

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0933680111
ISBN-10: 0933680112
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Pettigrew Enterprises (August 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933680112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933680111
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,350,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the efforts of the author, Joseph Harrington, the accomplishments of the over 5,000 Nisei to the American victory of Japan are now documented. Virtually unknown before the publication of this book, these loyal Americans volunteered from the concentration camps their families had been condemned to by Executive order 9066 in 1942. By using their knowledge of the Japanese language, U.S. intelligence knew the order of battle of Japanese forces in the Pacific almost down to the level of sergeants and corporals. This book recounts the many personal experiences of the men who so gallantly served the United States in the Pacific war, and who were commended by General MacArthur's staff for shortening the war by two years and saving a million American casualties. They have even been honored by the Japanese government! It has been my honor to know many of these fine men personally through the MIS Service Club of Southern California. All Americans, especially those who still think of Nisei as "Japanese" need to read this book, and find out what the color of honor is all about.
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Format: Hardcover
Joseph Harrington's YANKEE SAMUARI is an important book that has been neglected. Yet, this book is a necessary tribute to Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJAs)who served in the U.S. military during World War II. These men served in combat in North Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. Mr. Harrington's book is an antidote to those who refuse to recognize such valor or too cowardly to report it.

Harrington makes clear that when World War II erupted, the American military authorities lacked intelligence officers who could translate Japanese intercepts. Their desparation was so great that U.S. milirary officials had to enter American concentration camps where AJAs were confined due to Pres. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 which ordered all U.S. citizens to these camps for no reason whatsoever. Even the FBI Director, J. Edgar Hooever, was clear that AJAs were not a threat to American security. The Munson Report which was issued on November 7, 1941 clearly indicated that AJAs were remarkably loyal to the United States. Yet, these unfortunate men, women, and children were forced into these camps. When U.S. military authroties asked these men to volunteer for very dangerous intelligence duty, they did so in spite of their most unfair circumstances.

Harrington gives anecdotes of the heroism and effectiveness of the men who volunteered for both dangerous combat duty and intelligence work. These men infiltrated Japanese units, gathered intelligence, and helped American POWs escape. These AJAs did so at great personal risk. They knew that if they were detected and captured, they would be tortured to death.

The effectiveness of the AJA intelligence operatives is amazing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book gives a first hand account of what it was like to be an American of Japanese ancestry during WWII. The term Nisei refers to
children born in America who's parents were immigrants from Japan. It's hard to believe that President Roosevelt ordered the forced relocation, an internment, of all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. We are talking about first and second generation American citizens being forced from their homes and businesses.

To put this in perspective: German American's and Italian American's were not sent to internment camps. Obviously there was a lot off paranoia coupled with racial prejudice involved. Interestingly, the Japanese Americans at Pearl Harbor and the rest of the Hawaii
were NOT sent to internment camps, because doing so would have destroyed the Hawaiian economy, because the Japanese Americans made up a large proportion of the population.

Despite being forced to relocate the Nisei, for the most part, remained loyal to their country. These second generation Japanese Americans were American first and Japanese second. When it dawned on the Army that they needed more Japanese speaking Americans to intercept Japanese communications they started enlisting these Nisei directly from the internment camps into the Army!
Many Nisei volunteered to join.

The book was very informative but at times it became a bit tedious to read about the personal story of numerous Nisei at the expense of telling more about the actual combat the Nisei took part in. From my recollection I don't think they spent much time discussing the
remarkable story of the fighting 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe, which was an all Nisei Regiment.
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Format: Hardcover
Harrington may not be a great writer technically, but his "Yankee Samurai" is a fascinating read. Who else has bothered to interview some Nisei soldiers allowed into the Pacific and written up their contributions? Let's not let arguments over Nimitz and Marines vs. MacArthur sidetrack us, since no leaders were perfect. The Pacific stories of the Nisei soldiers themselves are what count, and Harrington's critics should prove them untrue before dismissing his contribution. Many outstanding researchers aren't great writers. Most of us remain massively ignorant of the several important Japanese cultures around the world during the 1930s and 1940s, and Harrington's work helps to fill our voids of knowledge. The Japanese militarists operated a vast spying and intelligence system around the world before and during WWII, but Harrington notes that most of our American Nisei who enlisted in the U.S. military had to take crash courses in Japanese after they joined the American military, since they couldn't speak, read or write the difficult Japanese; and the militarists in Japan didn't trust their allegiance.
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