Far East and Pacific Theaters

Contribution of the Nisei

Bray, Ann. "Undercover Nisei." In Military Intelligence: Its Heroes and Legends, 29-45. Arlington Hall Station, VA: USA Intelligence and Security Command, 1987. Hawaiian Japanese-Americans are recruited by the CIC in 1941 for work in the Philippines.

Brown, Curt. "Minnesota History: Secret Military Language School at Fort Snelling Getting Recognition." Star Tribune (Minneapolis), 12 May 2015. []

This story highlights the thousands of Nisei trained initially at the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Camp Savage, a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp."The initial class of 200 students and 18 instructors convened on June 1, 1942. By August 1944, the program had outgrown its facilities and moved to nearby Fort Snelling through 1946."

Crost, Lyn. Honor By Fire: Japanese Americans at War in Europe and the Pacific. Navato, CA: Presidio, 1994.

MI 21.3: This book about the role of Nisei in World War II includes discussion of the achievements of the 100th/442d Regimental Combat Team and the role Nisei played in military intelligence. "Crost puts names to deeds as she traces the contribution of Nisei to winning the war in the Pacific." She "brings to life" personal stories of "these unsung military intelligence soldiers."

Harrington, Joseph D. Yankee Samurai: The Secret Role of Nisei in America's Pacific Victory. Detroit, MI: Pettigrew, 1979.

From publisher: This book "is about Americans of Japanese ancestry who served secretly in the Pacific during World War II. Using their knowledge of Japanese, they shortened the conflict by at least two years, saving over 1,000,000 lives."

[Ichikawa, Grant, and Harry B. Akune.] "Were We Superpatriots? Nisei Intelligence Veterans Discuss WWII Experiences." CIRA Newsletter 25, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 7-10. Reprint from: Vanguard [Military Intelligence Corps Association newsletter] at

Remembrances by two men who illustrate what being American is all about.

Ishio, S. (Phil) [COL/USA (Ret.)]. "The Nisei Contribution to the Allied Victory in the Pacific." American Intelligence Journal 16, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 1995): 59-67.

The focus here is the work of "the approximately 6,000 graduates of the United States Army Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Language School who served as Japanese language intelligence specialists with practically every US Army unit involved in the war against Japan." Ishio gives examples from both forward combat areas and base area language intelligence centers, such as the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS).

McNaughton, James C. Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 2006.

Mercado, Studies 52.4 (Dec. 2008), finds that the "numerous footnotes and long bibliography" in this "wide-ranging" book "attest to the years of research" the author devoted to his work. Although "the absence of Japanese sources is regrettable," McNaughton has produced "an excellent history."

Sakakida, Richard, and Wayne S. Kiyosaki. A Spy in Their Midst: The World War II Struggle of a Japanese-American Hero. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995.

According to Surveillant 4.4/5, Sakakida was captured by the Japanese while working as a U.S. Army spy in the Philippines. He "narrowly escaped a death sentence and was assigned to the office of a Japanese official, where he gained valuable military information for MacArthur and engineered a daring prison break that freed a Filipino guerrilla leader and hundreds of his followers." Mercado, IJI&C 12.2, finds that Dr. Kiyosaki "paints a colorful portrait of Sakakida as a CIC agent..., [but] leaves too many gaps in the story." Nonetheless, it is an "inspiring story of perseverance in duty."

Sterner, C. Douglas. Go For Broke: The Nisei Warriors of World War II Who Conquered Germany, Japan, and American Bigotry. Clearfield, UT: American Legacy Historical Press, 2007.

From publisher: This is the story of the Nisei -- first generation Japanese born outside of Japan -- who "were eager to defend their American homeland, and how they became the most decorated fighting unit [the "Purple Heart Battlalion"] ever assembled in U.S. military history."

Ward, Lorraine, and Kathrine Erwin with Yoshinobu Oshiro. Reflections of Honor: The Untold Story of a Nisei Spy. Mãnoa: University of Hawaii at Mãnoa, 2014.

Peake, Studies 58.2 (Jun.2014), notes that this is the story of Arthur Komori, who served as an NCO in the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) and its predecessor organization before, during, and after World War II. It "is a powerful tale of loyalty and professionalism under precedent-setting conditions."

Return to Far East & Pacific Table of Contents