Showing consideration and courtesy for others, and recognizing their rights demonstrates respect –
so does being tolerant and accepting the differences that exist between people in our society.
After Pearl Harbor, not all Americans on the mainland vilified people
of Japanese descent. A small number of Caucasians respected
Japanese Americans as did the people and authorities in Hawaii. Some
Caucasians even volunteered to safeguard the property of those who
were incarcerated until they returned from the camps, often at the cost
of their own safety and reputation. This showed respect.
During the War in Europe, some generals refused to command the
100th and 442nd, but others like General Mark Clark respected and
welcomed them. Said Clark, “I will say they were superb! They took
terrific casualties. They showed rare courage and tremendous fighting
spirit. Everybody wanted them … and we used them quite dramatically
in the great advance in Italy which led up to the termination of the
In the Pacific
Okinawa is a Japanese island that lies 340 miles south of the Japanese
mainland. Its strategic location for the invasion of Japan’s mainland at
the end of WWII made Okinawa the scene of fierce fighting.
In fact, the fight for Okinawa was so ferocious that the battle was
nicknamed, “Typhoon of Steel.” It resulted in the highest number of
casualties of any battle in the Pacific.
As American victory became inevitable, Japanese soldiers told
Okinawans that Americans were barbarians who committed horrible
atrocities. Civilians on Okinawa often committed mass suicide at the
urging of the Japanese. Okinawans captured and interrogated by the
MIS felt they would be tortured or executed by the Americans.
However, the Nisei of the MIS found they could gain more and better
information through respect than torture. By treating the prisoners
with kindness, the Nisei got the Okinawans to yield information about
Japanese enemies that saved many American lives.