Riverside Metropolitan Museum

Reading the Walls Online Exhibit - Room #2 : Case 8

A Question of Loyalty and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

<p>Letter, Clark Harada to Local Board 70 Alameda County [Selective Service
System], May 13, 1944. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Clark objected to selective service as he and his family had been denied 
their civil rights. His initial letters to the government reflected his strong 
views. In this letter he wrote, </p>

<p>"I was driven to the WRA area by the U.S. armed forces. This is denying and 
ignoring my citizen (or civil) rights. None other than the slave will be imposed 
involuntary servitude without civil rights.</p>

<p>The U. S. Constitution, Amendment XIII states, "Neither slavery nor 
involuntary servitude shall exist within the U.S." Therefore, I shall not serve 
in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine or Air Corps. And also the U.S. Government cannot 
impose me involuntary service, because my citizenship has been reduced to the 
nil. It is prohibited, clearly, by the United States Constitution."</p>

<p>In 1943, the United States War Department created a new combat unit composed 
only of Japanese American recruits - the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Harold 
and Yoshizo Harada joined the 442nd and fought for the remainder of the war. The 
442nd landed in Italy just north of Rome. The members of this unit served 
heroically making the long and deadly march into Germany. </p>
<p>Notice of Classification Cards, Harold Harada, April 7, 1943 and February 1, 1944. Riverside
Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Harold Harada saved his two classification cards demonstrating the government’s change in policy for the Nisei. Harold like all eligible Japanese Americans was initially classified as 4-C – undesirable for service in the United States  military in 1943.  However, by February 1, 1944 his classification was changed to 1A – as eligible. </p>
<p>Photograph, Harold Harada, ca. 1945. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada
Family Collection.</p>

<p>In one of his letters to Sumi, Harold wrote, "I’m eligible for discharge by 
the 7th of July so keep your fingers crossed. The rumor has named Washington and 
San Francisco as sites for our parades thus far, so I will be right in 
California for my discharge but when I don’t know. I hope that it all comes 
true, for parades by the regiment will be just the right propaganda for racism 
that is met on the West Coast and to give the Nisei an opportunity to see the 
Combat Team as a unit. Sure wish the folks were alive to see this all-Nisei 
outfit parade." May 13, 1946</p>

<p>During its combat history, the members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team 
were awarded 18,000 individual decorations, including 53 Distinguished Service 
Crosses, 9,486 Purple Hearts, one Medal of Honor (awarded posthumously) and 
others. In 2000, nineteen of the recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross 
from the 442nd had their awards upgraded to Congressional Medals of Honor. 
Eleven were awarded posthumously.</p>
<p>Mitch Teshima photographs. Photographs left to right: Sumi Harada with Mitch Teshima’s Japanese Boy’s Day Koi Banner, ca. 1977, photograph by Mark Rawitsch; Mitch Teshima pre-1945, and U.S. Military Cemetery, Castel Fiorentino, 1945.  Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Harold Harada met his Riverside friend Mitch Teshima on April 4th while serving in Italy. Harold later recalled,  “And we enjoyed a nice meal . . . together, . . . very pleased that we were able to meet. . . . We sat on our steel helmets on this roadside, and had our mess kits filled with this meal. And we ate, and talked, probably for forty-five minutes.  And we reminisced about, ah, old boyfriends, girlfriends, sports. . . . And we talked about those kinds a’ things and, oh we just had a great time. And we bid each other farewell . . . and good luck, . . ‘Gonna see ya again.’ The next day, “As we were trying to sleep . . . Chaplain Israel Yost yelled up into the loft and asked us if we wanted to hear the names of the casualties for the day.  And we all said, ‘Yes.’  And, amongst the names was Michio Teshima.  And when I heard, ‘Michio Teshima’, well I, I can’t begin to tell ya what I felt like. To me, it was something that I’ll never forget.  And, ah couldn’t believe that somebody with a belly full of pork chops, rice, and pineapples, . . . and his brain swimming with . . . reminiscence of Riverside and all of our friends and all that, how could this guy be killed, you know? But he was – amongst five others.  One . . . barrage.  Six Japanese Americans killed in one shot.  And there were many that were killed and many that were wounded that day.”</p>
In 1946, Mitch’s brother, Henry visited Sumi at 3356 Lemon Street and presented Sumi with a package. Sumi, did not open this package until many years later.  The package contained the koi banner that Mitch had flown at a Mission Inn Japanese Boys’ Day Celebration.  It was wrapped in an American flag.  

<p>Harold wrote several times to his sister Sumi about the loss of his friend. On April 26, 1945, Harold wrote, "About eight of us visited 
the graves at Castel Fiorentino on the 24th of April. I’m enclosing some 
pictures that I took of Mitch’s grave and the cemetery." </p>

<p>Go For Broke tickets and JACL Directory. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada
Family Collection.</p>

<p>The motto for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was "Go For Broke". Harold 
later explained the meaning of this motto, "This Go For Broke spirit comes from 
many ways – From our Issei parents who inculcated Japanese culture into us as 
much as they could, as much as we could accept, maybe. And then on top of that, 
the American phrase for gambling "Go For Broke," would mean to shoot the works. 
"The fact that our parents and siblings . . . ,our friends, were in these 
internment camps behind barbed wire and behind armed guards, . . . we knew that 
. . . I think that when we went into attack, that was probably uppermost in our 
minds. Not . . . so much about killing the German enemy, but more to absolve us 
of any thought of disloyalty; to try to have our families released from these 
kinds of places, and to not ever have this kind of experience be undergone by 
any ethnic group because of their ethnicity." "They took care of medics . . . 
like you wouldn’t believe. And they knew that we were out in the open trying to 
help them, . . . and that is the Go For Broke spirit too, that they would Go For 
Broke . . . for a medic. They would Go For Broke for their comrades. They’d Go 
For Broke for all of . . . their friends and relatives in relocation centers, 
and they’d Go For Broke for their buddy next to them fighting alongside. They 
would die". [Rawitsch, Mark H. , Interviews with Members of the Harada 
Family, Mark H. Rawitsch, 2003, pp. 155-156]</p>

<p>Yoshizo Harada’s 442nd Regimental Combat Uniform. Riverside Metropolitan Museum,
Harada Family Collection.</p> <p>Yoshizo in a letter in April 1943 appealed to the 
relocation supervisor of the WRA office in Chicago: appealing "My heart is set 
on getting into the Army and I will do anything to get my orders for active duty 
for this Nisei combat team at Camp Shelby. I believe I am one of the very few 
Nisei dentists who hold a commission in the Dental Reserves. If I am ordered to 
Active Duty, both my father and myself would be one of the happiest people in 
the United States." He passed his physical examination in May and received 
orders on July 12, 1943 to report for duty at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. </p>

<p>Harold recalled that when U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant Yoshizo Harada arrived at 
Topaz on an emergency furlough following the death of his father, Harold started 
to step outside the camp perimeter to help with his baggage. A sentry lowered 
his rifle and warned Harold he would be shot if he stepped beyond the gate. 
"And, so my brother walked in, . . . and the guard checked his papers, came to 
attention, saluted him . . . And I said . . . to my brother . . . How come you 
saluted him? And he said, ‘Well, I have to.’ And I said, ‘Well you know that he 
was gonna shoot me? And my brother sorta’ chuckled, and, I don’t think he 
believed it but that was the truth." [Source: Rawitsch, Mark H. , Interviews 
with Members of the Harada Family, Mark H. Rawitsch, 2003, pp. 166]</p>
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President Roosevelt announced, "No loyal citizen of the United States should be denied the democratic right to exercise the responsibilities of his citizenship, regardless of race or ancestry . . . Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry. Every loyal American citizen should be given the opportunity to serve this country . . . in the ranks of our armed forces . . ." Franklin D. Roosevelt, February 1, 1943 upon activating the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. February 1, 1943 that loyal Nisei men could enlist in the armed services. In order to determine loyalty, the government designed the "Application for Leave Clearance" questionnaire, aka the "loyalty questionnaire." Different versions of this questionnaire were given to all male and female evacuees. In particular, Questions 27 and 28 became the defining questions for this loyalty test:

Question 27: Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered?

Question 28: Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power or organization?

Internees were concerned that based upon their answers, they could be subjected to further persecution and separated from their families. In fact, those who were designated as disloyal were relocated to the Tule Lake Internment Camp, a ‘segregation camp’ for dissidents, criminals, and those wishing to return to Japan.

For the Issei (immigrants born in Japan), if they answered "Yes" to questions 27 and 28, they were persons without a country because they could not become United States citizens and they were renouncing their Japanese citizenship.

The native-born Nisei found it difficult to pledge to defend the country that had deprived them of their constitutional rights, while being forced to admit a presumed allegiance to Japan.

The questionnaire frequently divided family members, including the Haradas. Clark Harada voiced his reservations about defending a country which incarcerated its citizens, while Harold and Yoshizo Harada embraced the opportunity to demonstrate their patriotism for their country.


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