The Potential of “Tomodachi” to Connect People

( The second-generation Japanese Americans, or nisei, faced tough times during World War II. During this period young Japanese Americans, mainly from Hawaii, joined the US Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team to serve their country. Senator Daniel Inouye was one of the soldiers whose bravery won US society’s respect for Japanese Americans. Many of these soldiers later recalled bouts of soul-searching about their Japanese roots—the cultural heritage that supported them as they went through those hardships. How do today’s generations of Japanese Americans perceive their ethnic roots? What are their thoughts on US-Japan relations? We asked Irene Hirano Inouye, who received the 2012 Japan Foundation Award for her contributions to fostering ties between the people of the United States and Japan, for her views.

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