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Individual Awards

Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest award that an individual in its Armed Forces can earn. Since its inception in 1861, the President on behalf of Congress has awarded the Medal of Honor to nearly 3,500 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guard personnel who have demonstrated extraordinary courage and heroism.

The US Department of Defense states that the Medal of Honor is conferred upon US Armed Forces service members who "distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty."

At the end of World War II, despite recognized demonstrations of bravery by the Japanese American soldiers, only one Japanese American, Sadao S. Munemori, was acknowledged for his valor with the Medal of Honor in 1946.

It would not be until more than half a century later that this oversight would be addressed. On June 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal of Honor to 22 Asian Americans, 20 of whom were Japanese American WWII soldiers. Of these, 13 were awarded posthumously.

This recognition acknowledged the valuable contribution these Nisei soldiers made to American history. At the ceremony, President Clinton spoke of these soldiers' "extraordinary bravery," stating, "They risked their lives above and beyond the call of duty. And in so doing they did more than defend America. In the face of painful prejudice they helped define America at its best."

Medal of Honor Recipients
All photographs courtesy of the United States Department of Defense.


Barney F. Hajiro
Company I, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Mikio Hasemoto
Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)


Joe Hayashi
Company K, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Shizuya Hayashi
Company A, Original 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)


Daniel K. Inouye
Company E, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Yeiki Kobashigawa
Company B, Original 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)


Robert T. Kuroda
Company H, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Kaoru Moto
Company C, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)


Sadao S. Munemori
Company A, 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team


Kiyoshi K. Muranaga
Company F, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Masato Nakae
Company A, 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team


Shinyei Nakamine
Company B, Original 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)


William K. Nakamura
Company G, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Joe M. Nishimoto
Company G, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Allan M. Ohata
Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)


James K. Okubo
Medical Detachment, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Yukio Okutsu
Company F, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Frank H. Ono
Company G, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Kazuo Otani
Company G, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


George T. Sakato
Company E, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


Ted T. Tanouye
Company K, 442nd Regimental Combat Team


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