Today is National “Go for Broke” Day, and to celebrate, the Go for Broke National Educational Center has put out a call for people to post a photo on social media related to the military service of Japanese Americans during WWII and tag it with @gfbnec and #NationalGorForBrokeDay.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a book club reading American Sutra at the Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin temple in Honolulu and met up with the 96-year old former Bishop and WWII veteran Yoshiaki Fujitani. I had interviewed him for the book over ten years ago, to document his military service with the Hawai’i Territorial Guard and Victory Varsity Volunteers (VVV) — a unit that inspired the formation of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team — as well as with the Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific. During one of his leaves, he visited his father (Rev. Kodo Fujitani), who was also a Buddhist priest and had been arrested by the FBI, in the Santa Fe Internment Camp. In American Sutra, he discusses the irony of serving in the U.S. military as a Buddhist while his father languished in camp because of his religious faith.

On National “Go for Broke” Day, we recall the sacrifices of those who served in the U.S. military despite the racial and religious animus that led to the incarceration of their family members. Later this month, I’ll be speaking at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans to deliver the 2019 “Faith in Wartime Lecture,” presented by the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the Baptist Community Ministries.

If you have any questions or comments regarding American Sutra or this newsletter, please email me.

Kindest regards,


With WWII veteran Yoshiaki Fujitani at the Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin temple in Honolulu. March 2019.


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