(From left) Lane Nishikawa and David Ono during the filming of “Never Forget,” a documentary feature highlighting local San Diego Japanese American veterans, their families and the families of those veterans who have passed away. Photo: Courtesy of Lane Nishikawa
By P.C. Staff
The San Diego Japanese American Citizens League will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of Word War II with a gala on Sept. 19 at the Marriott Mission Valley. The special evening will honor veterans of the 100th and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service and all Nisei veterans of WWII and their families.
“Our board decided that it was a great opportunity for us to recognize our few remaining veterans and their families and the families of those who have passed on. It is a chance to share their legacy with the generations that have followed,” said Lane Nishikawa. “It also is a way that we can ensure that grandchildren and great-grandchildren understand, reflect upon and own that legacy so they can pass it on to future generations.”
During the gala, Nishikawa will present an exclusive preview of his newest feature documentary film “Never Forget,” now in production. The film highlights local San Diego Japanese American veterans, their families and the families of those veterans who have passed away. Narratives within the film follow the sons and daughters, the grandchildren and now the great-grandchildren of those who served.
“What makes ‘Never Forget’ also special is our focus. We have included in the interview process the sons and daughters, the grandchildren and, in some cases, the great-grandchildren,” said Nishikawa, who is also producer and director of “Only the Brave.” “They are becoming the Nisei soldier’s voice. They will never forget.”
San Diego’s 118 Nisei soldiers represent the thousands who volunteered from plantations of Hawaii and those from the 10 incarceration camps, where 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were imprisoned.
“As the years go by, it seems the younger generations have all but forgotten the hardships of WWII,” wrote the San Diego JACL chapter about the gala’s mission. “Their worlds are filled with so many other challenges, but if we can take this opportunity to let the younger generations of Americans reflect, question and gain a deeper understanding, then we will give them an appreciation toward the sacrifices that the Nisei soldiers made for their country and the contributions the group made in earning equality, which is reflected in our society today.”
Actress Tamlyn Tomita along with Lee Ann Kim, executive director of Pacific Arts Movement and a longtime news anchor of KGTV-10, the ABC affiliate in San Diego, will co-emcee the gala.
Invited guests include Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Harry Harris Jr. and Commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado Rear Admiral Brian Losey. Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta is also expected to attend.
Partial confirmed guests include honorary committee members: State Senators Marty Block and Ben Hueso; Assemblymembers Brian Maienschein, Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez; State Controller Betty Yee; City of Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka; Supervisors Greg Cox, Dave Roberts and Ron Roberts; and City of San Diego Councilmember Chris Cate.
The San Diego JACL was formed in 1932, serving as one of the premier Asian American organization in Southern California. The chapter provides advocacy for civil and human rights, leadership for social injustice and education for maintaining and facilitating cultural heritage and tradition.
Guests interested in attending should contact Robert Ito at Robert@itogirard.com or call (619) 954-7017. Ticket amounts can be found at http://www.jaclsandiego.org. Two complimentary seats will be provided to veterans plus one guest or widow plus one guest or two representatives of next of kin of a deceased veteran.