At a time when Japanese Americans were mistrusted and deemed the “enemy,” they proved themselves to be true loyal Americans in the fight against Japan.
The Military Intelligence Service (MIS) served a unique role in World War II. Armed with the knowledge of the Japanese language and customs, the MIS was indispensable in every battle in the Pacific Theater of war after the battle of Midway. The heroic efforts of Richard Sakakida, Kenji Yasui, and Roy Matsumoto are some of the well-known stories of the MIS. Yet the MIS’s overall effort, bravery, and service are still not familiar to the general public.
The experiences of the MIS were kept classified for national security purposes. Although other Japanese American units like the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team were hailed as America’s heroes, the MIS was never publicly recognized. The Nisei MIS linguists served quietly during World War II, the occupation of Japan, and Korean War but after years of secrecy their stories were made public only recently. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Executive Order 11652 allowing the declassification of all military intelligence documents during World War II. It was after this time, that the Nisei linguists were finally able to share their wartime experiences with family members, friends and other WWII veterans.
Today, America recognizes the significant contributions of the MIS. “The MIS Nisei, in war and in peace, contributed toward improved understanding between the U.S. and Japan, and in international relations through their personal conduct toward people of other nations.”
Major General Charles Willoughby commends the MIS soldiers as they “saved countless lives and shortened the war.” In June 2000, the MIS soldiers of World War II were formally recognized and praised with the U.S. military’s coveted Presidential Unit Citation.
|< Back||Back to Campaigns main page|