Two Japanese American Soldiers, Two Best Friends, And a Crossroad


The all Japanese American 100th / 442nd Regiment Combat Team is a symbol of a “Y” shaped crossroad for my familial history; however, unlike a typical crossroad of either right or left, no path was disloyal or unjust, but rather both paths led to the same end road that was the result of bravery and courage.

Photos and Background Information Provided by Sumiko Kusumi (unless otherwise specified)

[Editors note: Read Brandon's article in which he writes about creating this collection – Two Japanese American Soldiers, Two Best Friends, and a Crossroad]

Slides in this album 

100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team

World War II not only led to the creation of the Japanese Internment Camps, but also to the creation of the all Japanese American 100th Battalion and 442nd Combat Regiment Team. Photograph: "Japanese American Veterans Collection Digital Resources." University of Hawaii at Manoa Libraries. 25 Jan 2006. 4 Dec 2007 …

Contributed by: BShindo

The Generation of the American Heroes

My grandfather,Kay Kei Kusumi was born on April 28, 1924, in Auburn, Washington to Mr. Fukunosuke and Mrs. Hide Kusumi. He was the eldest son of a family of six. To his parents and family's unknowing, a hero was born. As a child, due to his opposition to whatever his …

If Only They Knew
Contributed by: BShindo

A Simplier Time

As a young adult, Kay was the typical American teenager. For instance, he enjoyed "hanging out" with his buddies, and playing baseball. His Japanese American heritage was simply who he was, but to his unknowing, it was his nationality as a Japanese American that would change the story of his …

Those Simply Days...
Contributed by: BShindo

My maternal great uncle, Masao Shigezane was born on July 7, 1925 to Mr. Kinzo and Mrs. Yasuko Shigezane in Los Angeles, California. He was the fourth eldest son of seven children.

Contributed by: BShindo

When School was the Only Japanese American Child's Worry

As young children, Sumiko Shigezane (Kay’s Future Wife), Masao’s younger sister was the cause to the friendship of Kay and Masao. Kay’s eldest sister Esther was her Sunday school teacher. Sumiko described Kay as a very curious child, but very kind hearted. However, his curiosity often got Masao into trouble. …

Better days
Contributed by: BShindo

The Traditional Nisei Role in the Family

As a young Nisei it was Masao's responsibility to not only care for his younger siblings, but also contribute to the family income;thus, he worked at the family market, located on Temple St., Los Angeles. It was very common among Issei's to have large families; due to the fact large …

Contributed by: BShindo

Tec/5 Kay Kei Kusumi; CIB

As a result of the signing of Executive Order 9066, the Kusumi family were resettled in the internment camp known as Granada War Relocation Center, Colorado; otherwise known as Amache. Seeing the conditions that were present, Kay knew that he could not live in such a place. There were no …

Private Kay K. Kusumi
Contributed by: BShindo

Camp Shelby, Mississippi

In this photo, Kay is speaking with fellow soldier Imoto as he was about to leave the camp gates. As can be seen on the side of Kay's truck, the title "Lil Amache." His truck was his momento of his family's temporary home in Amache, and a reminder to never …

Camp Shelby, Mississippi
Contributed by: BShindo

Kay would often describe his stay with the 442nd as time when boys became men. He described his fellow servicemen as "modern day super heroes." He once told me that he saw both the positive and negative sides of the war, and it was because he experienced both sides that …

Contributed by: BShindo

Nice, France; (left to right: Richard, Kay, Joe)

The 100th/442nd Infantry was not just a group of soldiers, but a band of brothers. Kay explained that in the beginning of the war there was much tension from the Mainland and Islander Japanese Americans. Mainland Japanese Americans would often call Islanders, "Buddha head" meaning pig headed, while Islanders called …

Contributed by: BShindo

A War Abroad, and A War at Home

Kay would often return to Amache to visit family and friends on completion of certain missions. It was when he returned to the camp that he began to very clearly see the irony of the war. He was fighting for America, the "Land of the Free," while his family and …

Back At Amache 2
Contributed by: BShindo

The 100th/442nd Infantry began the Rhineland campaign on Sept 15, 1944 and ended on March 21, 1945. The Nazi flag was a gift to my grandfather from his fellow soldiers after their victory.

On the European Front
Contributed by: BShindo

In 1943, Masao received a letter at his family's barrack in Amache, which stated that he was to report immediately to the Recruiting Office. It was then that Masao told his sister Sumiko, "Sumiko, come look at my hair, I’ve never seen hair stand up like that before." The reality …

Soldier of the 442
Contributed by: BShindo

Pvt Masao Shigezane; BS, PH, CIB

Unlike Kay, due to the reopening of the draft, Masao underwent very brief basic training. It was a estimated few weeks before he was sent to the European front in Italy to join the 100th Battalion, Company B. In letters written home, his longing for his return home was clearly …

Friends of the 442nd
Contributed by: BShindo

Before his next mission located near Marciaso, Italy, Masao wrote a letter along with the photo above stating that he feared going on this particular mission. He stated in the note that he had a strange feeling that he would not be returning home. Thus, he began to question his …

442nd Infantry
Contributed by: BShindo

The photo above was shot shortly after Kay became notified of his best friend, Masao's death. Since Kay drove the artillery trucks, he often had to transport the casualties from the battlefield to be returned to the main fort. However, one day, upon his arrival to the fort Kay noticed …

Contributed by: BShindo

An estimated few weeks before Masao was to be relieved of his duty in the U.S army he was killed on April 21, 1945, near Marciaso, Italy.

In a government document the following was stated:
“For gallantry in action on the 21th day of April, 1945 near Marciaso, Italy. When …

Contributed by: BShindo

Upon being relieved of his military duty, Kay experienced the results of the war. Upon Kay's arrival back home, his family had to completely rebuild their lives. With the money in their pockets, a few fellow family friends, and with their ambition to overcome all obstacles that would stand in …

Their Stories...
Contributed by: BShindo

"You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice, and you have won." - President Truman

Photo taken at Go For Broke Memorial in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA.

Go For Broke Monument
Contributed by: BShindo

Album Type

family history

BShindo — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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