Archive for February, 2013

AJA Heroes

February 21st, 2013

American Heroes

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During its 6-week visit to Honolulu, March 9-April 14, Bishop Museum’s Castle Memorial Building will become the home of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM). Exhibits from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and other related organizations will also be on display. Weekly panel discussions and film screenings will also be presented during this historic exhibit.

The Congressional Gold Medal is a tribute to valor in combat and there is no more deserving and worthy recipients than the thousands of Japanese-Americans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (the “Go For Broke” regiments), and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) who dedicated their lives to the United States during WWII. This Congressional Gold Medal commemorative event is designed to celebrate these citizens and soldiers, and to educate today's youth as to a history they may not know.

After the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941, Americans of Japanese ancestry became victims of discrimination and negative stereotypes. Over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-American citizens were held in internment camps throughout the United States. These families faced myriad challenges. While they were held captive, most of them lost their businesses, their careers, their homes and farms, and their loved ones. While they suffered at home their sons, fathers and brothers, all loyal Americans, were soldiers at war, becoming some of the most highly decorated citizens in U.S. military history.

Partnering to share their stories of valor and sacrifice are Bishop Museum, the National Veterans Network, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The 100th Infantry Battalion was a unit within the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division. Compromised mostly of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) from the Hawaii Army National Guard, the 100th Infantry Battalion also included volunteers from Japanese internment camps, which were then located throughout the United States during WWII. With the “Remember Pearl Harbor” motto, the 100th Infantry Battalion were consistently motivated to prove their loyalty to the United States. During their 20 month combat term in Europe, the unit became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” for the number of casualties. They fought in six war campaigns in Italy and France, and garnered four Presidential Unit Citations.

Considered to be one of the most decorated combat units in United States military history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team consisted of a share of enlisted soldiers, as well as volunteers who fought in Europe during WWII. Two-thirds of their original unit were Americans of Japanese Ancestry, or Nisei, from Hawaii. Others were Nisei soldiers from the Mainland.

The “Go For Broke” motto means to risk everything in order to win. Activated under the command of Colonel Charles W. Pence, the 442nd worked closely with the 100th Infantry Battalion. Over 14,000 men served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Their values of service, loyalty and sacrifice earned the unit over 9,000 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, and 560 Silver Stars.

The Military Intelligence Service, or MIS, was a group of smaller units consisting of Nisei soldiers during WWII. Their average unit size was between 10-20 men. Playing a vital role in the U.S. military tactics during WWII, the MIS units used linguistic skills to gather intelligence, decipher captured enemy maps and documents, and conduct translations and interrogations. MIS unit members were at heightened risk because they could be confused for enemy troops by their own U.S. military personnel. MIS servicemen provided indispensible assistance during Japanese war crime trials, in the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs), and in establishing positive relations between U.S. military forces and Japanese civilians. Working most often with classified orders, the MIS units have not receive the recognition other units and battalions have received during and post war.

Recognized throughout the world for scientific research, educational programs, and extensive collections which give voice to the stories of Hawai‘i and the broader Pacific.

National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA: Jan 12 – Feb 17, 2013
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI: March 9 – April 14, 2013
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA: May 4 – June 9, 2013
De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA: June 29 – August 4, 2013
Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR: August 24 – Sept 29, 2013
Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL – Oct 19 – Dec 8, 2013
Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, TX – Dec 21, 2013 – Jan 24, 2014

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Your Man Reminder

February 12th, 2013

Your Man Reminder

Such a clever PSA. Thanks to Rici for sending. Enjoy!

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Vandana Shiva on GMO

February 6th, 2013

Dr Vandana Shiva on GMO

Vandana Shiva visited Hawaii for a few days recently, appearing at the State Capitol, where thousands of anti- GMO (genetically modified organisms) protestors came in support. Because of our consistent climate and isolation, Hawaii has been host to the world's largest seed conglomerates (Monsanto, Pioneer Seed) who do their genetic testing on crops grown on various islands. It has long been a controversial subject as to how much of these genetically modified organisms find their way into our natural environment, and the controversy continues to grow so to speak. Many Americans question large corporate control over "ownership" of seeds and hence, ownership of food, and the rights of small family farmers to grow their own crops. Here is a brief sampler of Dr Shiva's message to the world. If you have been, like many Americans, unsure of how safe or how dangerous GMO foods are to your and your family's health, we're featuring a series of videos on the subject. You decide.

Next up is a video by "Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives" covering the relationships between the FDA, current and past directors of companies like Monsanto (who decades ago told the American public that DDT and PCP were safe), and commentary by various scientists in the national community who have been vehemently opposed to GMO food technologies.

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Hawaiian Toolmaking

February 5th, 2013

Hawaiian Toolmaking

If you're interested, we're currently featuring a wonderul clip on Hawaiian weaponry by contemporary artistan, La'akea Suganmuma (who is a descendant of the great native scholar Mary Kawena Pukui). Front Page:

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