Byrnes Yamashita

Byrnes Yamashita is the Vice President of the Nisei Veterans Legacy, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to keeping the legacy of the Nisei soldiers of World War II alive for younger generations.

Updated December 2022

identity en

Veteran History – Earl Terao: Kotonk in Paradise

“Kotonk” A Japanese American from the continental United States vis-à-vis a Japanese American from Hawai‘i. Originating from World War II-era conflict between Hawai‘i-born and U.S. mainland-born Japanese Americans in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Initially a pejorative term, “kotonk” is still used occasionally in Hawai‘i today. – Densho Encyclopedia Writer’s note: Personally, I have tried to erase the term “kotonk” from my vocabulary. It is a term of my father’s generation and was often used in a ne…

Read more

war en

An Unlikely Friendship: Italian American Nicholas Iosue Mistaken for AJA Leads to Lifelong Friendships

Former President Trump’s rants against the “Kung Flu” or “Chinese Flu” contributed to a rash of anti-Asian hate crimes across the country recently, which has distressed and greatly affected the Asian American community. Unfortunately, this is not a new set of circumstances. Anti-Asian sentiment and laws have existed for over a hundred years in America. Sometimes it is difficult to understand where this enmity against Asian people comes from, especially for those living in Hawai‘i, where different ethnic groups live together in relative harmony. This story …

Read more