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Go For Broke National Education Center Oral History Project Collection
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This collection, also known as the Hanashi (“to talk” in Japanese) oral history project, is the world’s largest collection of oral histories from Japanese American World War II veterans. Started in 1998, the project has recorded over 1,200 oral histories with Nisei (second-generation Americans) veterans from across the country and even internationally.
In 1989, a group of World War II veterans started the 100th/442nd/MIS World War II Memorial Foundation with the mission of recognizing the Nisei veterans while also sharing and preserving their story. Over the next ten years, the Foundation worked diligently to raise awareness for the Nisei story. They held their first teacher workshop, began an oral history program, and began tirelessly fundraising to construct a monument to honor the Nisei World War II veterans. On June 5, 1999, the Go For Broke Monument was dedicated in Los Angeles. Reflecting their motto to "go for broke," or give it their all, the granite monument remains a striking tribute to the Nisei soldiers who fought overseas in World War II. With the monument in place, the Foundation shifted its focus to preserving the veterans' histories so that others might learn from their experiences. Today, the Foundation, renamed Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC), continues its work of educational outreach to share the legacy of the Nisei veterans. "Go For Broke" was the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an Army unit comprised of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland United States. For high-rolling gamblers in Hawaii in the 1940s, it was slang for "shooting the works," or risking everything for the big win. For the Nisei soldiers, "go for broke" meant that they would put everything on the line to win the war against the Germans in Europe and the war against racial prejudice at home. Collaborating with organizations that share our vision, including the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, the Japanese American National Museum, the National Veterans Network, and Japanese American veterans clubs throughout the country, we continue to promote educational programs about the Japanese American World War II experience. Through these life stories, we hope to inspire today's generation and those of tomorrow to live the core values embodied by these Nisei soldiers: courage, humility, self-sacrifice, integrity, equality, patriotism. Go For Broke National Education Center’s Mission Statement: “To educate and inspire character and equality through the virtue and valor of our World War II American veterans of Japanese ancestry.”
Approximately 1200 oral histories
Copyrights have been transferred to Go For Broke National Education Center. Please contact the archivist for additional information.
This collection is available for research upon request.