Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit

Military Intelligence Service

About 6,000 Nisei, half of them from Hawaii, served in the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. Their work saved countless lives and shortened the war by years.

MIS Nisei served in every combat theatre in the Pacific from the Aleutians and Guadalcanal to Burma and Okinawa. They interrogated prisoners, translated captured documents, wrote propaganda, made and intercepted radio broadcasts, infiltrated enemy lines, flushed caves and fought as infantrymen. Being mistaken for the enemy was a constant risk.

An American colonel said of the MIS Nisei, “Each one was as valuable as an infantry company.” But unlike Nisei who fought in Europe with the renowned 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the work of the MIS was secret, and their service went largely unrecognized.

Kenneth Uni (left) of Hawaii questions a wounded prisoner in the Philippines (January 1945). Uni was one of thousands of Nisei soldiers whose knowledge of Japanese language and culture helped America during and after the war.

Nisei Jiro Arakaki (right) from Hawaii questions Japanese Army officer (October 1945).

MIS Nisei Harry Fukuhara (with glasses) questions a Japanese prisoner on New Guinea (April 1944). Fukuhara volunteered for the U.S. Army from an internment camp. He lost family members in Hiroshima to the atom bomb.

Nisei Veterans Legacy