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Award of Excellence
Motoya Nakamura The Oregonian
"Fighting Prejudice on Two Fronts"

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'John Murakami' John Murakami wanted to prove their loyalty to the country. After repeated requests, he was sent to France in Aug. 1945 as a replacement infantryman for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Two months after he joined, the combat team liberated the French town of Bruyeres and advanced into the Vosges mountains. An enemy artillery shell hit a bank about 10 feet from Murakami's machine gun squad, blowing him out of his foxhole. Shrapnel ripped through his back, under his arm, and lodged in his chest. 'I got home and lived to be 85 years old,' he says. 'A lot of guys never came back.

Even as 120,000 Japanese Americans were herded into concentration camps during World War II, many of the sons of those families volunteered to fight for the very country that interned them. Most of those men saw action with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, widely acknowledged to be the U.S. Military's most decorated unit for its size and length of service. The men mostly were nisei, or second-generation children of immigrant parents. I used a large-format camera and multiple exposures to capture the past and present of these soldiers. My intent was to emphasize the complexity of their lives as well as their history.



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