( The book is one of the perks, $50+ perk / KS Video Music : BenSound.com)
WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
During World War II, over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and sent to internment camps scattered across the country. When their country came calling to ask for volunteers to join the US Army, many Japanese Americans raised their hands.
The 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team are the most decorated unit for their size and length of service in US military history. Among their awards were 21 Medals of Honor, 9,486 Purple Hearts and 5,200 Bronze Stars (including Oak Leaf Clusters).
The Nisei veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service have done more than their part in history for Japanese-Americans and really all, Asian Americans. They are too humble and too reserved to "make a fuss" and have their voices heard. This is where the next generation must come in and carry the torch, so that these stories are not forgotten. This personal project of mine is something I can give back to veterans of the 100th/442nd and MIS. I am thankful – being both a "Buddhahead" and a “Katonk” – that I am given this opportunity to share these photos so that other Americans, especially Japanese-Americans, can see them.
I hope these portraits show a glimpse of what these men were like on a personal level, and that their pictures and stories make you think about what they sacrificed and accomplished, so you’ll be proud that they were American heroes.
SO WHAT IS THIS KICKSTARTER FOR?
So far, I've only been able to photograph veterans living along the West Coast and Hawaii and produced this first The Go For Broke Spirit book with my own funds. But with your help, I can secure travel to the Midwest and East Coast to continue documenting these brave men and their stories to produce a second book, including some of the portraits that we were unable to include in the first book. This second book will complete my two volume series.
Many people have asked why I waited so long? A lot of times these men were not open to being photographed, but as the years went on, they realized the importance of preserving their history, which might otherwise be lost. In recent years I've been getting more willing responses from many of these men.
The first 12" x 12" hardcover coffee table book consists of 81 veterans' portraits with their stories and some foundational background, in 184 pages.
This book project was funded personally and it entailed more hardships and costs than I originally expected, but I want to keep the price reasonable to the public so everyone can enjoy it. Please consider pledging more than the book's cost not just to offset the additional expense, but so that I can finish the second book.
Please help me preserve the images and stories of these heroic men who fought for our country while their own families were incarcerated in camps. This is not just Japanese American history, it is American history.
HOW DID THIS PROJECT GET STARTED ?
In 1999 I had been working as a freelance photographer out of my Los Angeles Arts District studio. Christine Yamazaki and Diane Tanaka saw my large portraits of ladies in a retirement home. They liked how I was able to show the women's strength and dignity as well as personality despite living in the confinements of a nursing home. It struck a cord with them and Christine asked if I wanted to do a series of the veterans.
I had been working with the vets for a few years already, so I thought it was it was a great idea. They wanted to keep the unity of the "Go For Broke" Foundation in which they were all going to wear their white 442 club shirts. I decided on a black and white series in which the subject would stand out from what basically was white on white background.
What came next was a yearlong project of shooting veterans from Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Seattle. I used a Pentax 6x7 medium format camera and Tri-X 400 film. I was trying to keep the images to one roll per veteran, or 10 pictures each. Some I shot maybe a roll and a half if I wanted something extra or I felt I did not get it. I tried to bring out a little personality with each subject. Some were serious, some were playful, others were somber and stoic.
From 2007 to the present, I again travelled and shot in Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Seattle, sometimes shooting the same vets again. I wanted to show to a future generation strong, vibrant, color portraits of what these men did for America. Armed with my new Canon 5D digital cameras, portable lights, and Photoshop, I could shoot almost anywhere. I shot for many years, sometimes only getting a few at a time, not really knowing what I was going to do with the finished portraits. I just knew that this needed to be done.
Working with the vets has always fascinated me for two reasons. For one, being Japanese-American myself, I felt proud of the honor these men brought for all Japanese-Americans living in this country. And second, I was struck by their humility. While small in physical stature, the accomplishments of these men were powerful and moved an entire generation.
This kept me going as it was difficult to convince them to take a portrait or to convince veterans organizations to even allow me to try and take any portraits. They had to be convinced it was for a future generation to see and that I was an appropriate person for this. This camaraderie and strength are probably what gave them the courage to fight together for America against racism, and fight to prove that they belong. My troubles seem minor indeed when I think of these things, and I hope to continue to take these portraits as long as I am able.
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK ?
Funding on Kickstarter . . . unless we reach our $25,000 goal, and we only have 30 days to reach that goal. If we don’t make it, the project will not go forward and no credit cards will be charged. So please kickstart my project by making a pledge before the October 20th deadline! Thank you!
WANNA GET IN TOUCH WITH ME ?
If you have questions, comments or anything else, contact me at email@example.com
Risks and challenges
For the second book, I believe most of the difficulties have been taken care of during the course of making the first book.
These heroic men are passing on day by day and the biggest challenge is the march of time. I've exhausted a large amount of time, energy and funds to complete this first book, so unfortunately if the Kickstarter isn't successful, more than likely I will not be able to do a second book.
On a positive note, currently the first "The Go For Broke Spirit" book is being printed in Shanghai with an arrival around late October/early November. We're hoping to get the first volume shipped by December 2017. If the Kickstarter doesn't succeed, "The Go For Broke Spirit" book will be available for purchase on our website.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)