Staff Sergeant Joe Hayashi

 

My wife and I recently moved to northeast Pasadena. While on one of my walks in the new neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to find a memorial to not only a Japanese American Veteran but Medal of Honor Winner Staff Sergeant Joe Hayashi of Company K of the 442 Regemental Combat team.

I was inspired to learn more about what he did. So I went on Discover Nikkei and this is what I found:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to:

PRIVATE JOE HAYASHI, United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Private Joe Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 20 and 22 April 1945, near Tendola, Italy. On 20 April 1945, ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi skillfully led his men to a point within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were detected and fired upon. After dragging his wounded comrades to safety, he returned alone and exposed himself to small arms fire in order to direct and adjust mortar fire against hostile emplacements. Boldly attacking the hill with the remaining men of his squad, he attained his objective and discovered that the mortars had neutralized three machine guns, killed 27 men, and wounded many others.

On 22 April 1945, attacking the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep, terraced hill to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to a hostile machine gun position, he threw a grenade killing one enemy soldier and forcing the other members of the gun crew to surrender. Seeing four enemy machine guns delivering deadly fire upon other elements of his platoon, he threw another grenade, destroying a machine gun nest. He then crawled to the right flank of another machine gun position where he killed four enemy soldiers and forced the others to flee. Attempting to pursue the enemy, he was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pistol fire. The dauntless courage and exemplary leadership of Private Hayashi enabled his company to attain its objective.

Private Hayashi’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

The memorial is located at Victory Park. If you know of other memorials, take a picture and send it to me at ksakai[a]janm.org and I’ll be sure to post it on our blog!

– Koji Steven Sakai/Manager of Public Programs

Miss Kato, Canadian Rodeo Queen, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Japanese American National Museum Toyo Miyatake/Rafu Shimpo Collection, photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, gift of the Alan Miyatake Family. (96.267.316)

Nikkei community newspapers

Miss Kato, Canadian Rodeo Queen, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Japanese American National Museum Toyo Miyatake/Rafu Shimpo Collection, photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, gift of the Alan Miyatake Family. (96.267.316)
Miss Kato, Canadian Rodeo Queen, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Japanese American National Museum Toyo Miyatake/Rafu Shimpo Collection, photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, gift of the Alan Miyatake Family. (96.267.316)

Nikkei newspapers like The Rafu Shimpo in Los Angeles and the Nichi Bei up in San Francisco have served important roles since the early Issei immigrants began establishing communities across the United States.

Last spring, our Discover Nikkei team began working on a project to share stories about some of these publications and organize a public program. On April 2, 2011, we presented “From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspaper” in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in partnership with The Rafu Shimpo, Nichi Bei Foundation/Nichi Bei Weekly, Cultural News, and Nikkei Nation.

The program included a historical overview by Gil Asakawa and presentations by panelists Gwen Muranaka (Rafu Shimpo), Kenji Taguma, (Nichi Bei Foundation/Nichi Bei Weekly), Shigeharu Higashi (Cultural News), and George Johnston (Nikkei Nation). The presentations were followed by a moderated discussion and questions from the audience covering topics such as the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as local relief efforts; the viability of Nikkei media and the closing of some longtime newspapers in recent years; how can Nikkei media change to be relevant to younger demographics without alienating older generations; and the use and role of social media.

Participants of the "From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers" program on April 2, 2011

For those who missed the program, we now have video footage from the program online on Discover Nikkei:
From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers, April 2, 2011

View articles about Nikkei community newspapers on Discover Nikkei >>

View photos from Museum’s Toyo Miyatake Studio / Rafu Shimpo Collection >>

Happy Mother’s Day!

Yamashita Twins at Japanese Hospital of Los Angeles, August 1959 (96.267.689)
Yamashita Twins at Japanese Hospital of Los Angeles, California, August 1959, Photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, Gift of the Alan Miyatake Family (96.267.689)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

I came across this photo from our Toyo Miyatake Studio / Rafu Shimpo online collection while searching for images to include with the May Family Programs email update.

Here’s a few stories from our Discover Nikkei site about mothers & grandmothers:

 

Stan Sakai: The Cartoonist

Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner

We recently honored cartoonist Stan Sakai at our 2011 Gala Dinner where he was awarded the Cultural Ambassador Award.For those of you who are not familiar with his work, he’s best known for his iconic character, Usagi Yojimbo—a samurai rabbit in feudal Japan, which he created in 1984.

His comic books have been translated into a dozen languages and in Empire magazine’s list of greatest comic book characters of all time, Usagi Yojimbo placed 31st, ahead of Green Lantern, Daredevil, and Hellboy!

We’re also working with Stan on a retrospective exhibition of his work that opens on July 9. Our award-winning Watase Media Arts Center staff is working on a short documentary to accompany the exhibition. Last summer they went to the Comicon in San Diego where they interviewed some of his fellow cartoonists who all agreed that he’s one of the nicest guys in the business. After meeting him, we all agree and can’t wait for his exhibition!

Chris Komai, the Public Information Officer at JANM, wrote an article about Stan for the Gala Dinner journal. It’s now online on our Discover Nikkei site:

Stan Sakai: The Cartoonist
by Chris Komai
Read the article >>

For more info about the upcoming exhibition:

Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo
July 9 through October 30, 2011
Learn more about this exhibition >>

Stan Sakai drawing Usagi Yojimbo on stage at the 2011 Gala Dinner. Photos by Tracy Kumono.