Journey of Heroes: The Story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team (book)
Book cover. Courtesy of 442 Comic Book LLC
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The story begins with the aftermath of the rescue of the Lost Battalion in October 1944, before going back to the start of story. The unnamed veteran starts out by describing his materially poor but happy life in Waialua, a town on the northwest coast of the island of O'ahu, that is upended by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor . A student at the University of Hawaii, he becomes part of the Hawaii Territorial Guard that is called on to guard various parts of the island right after the attack. When the Japanese American members of the guard are kicked out in January 1942, he is among those that form the volunteer labor battalion, the Varsity Victory Volunteers . With the formation of the 442nd in early 1943, he is among the first to enlist. He goes to describe the initial friction between mainland " Kotonks " and Hawai'i " Buddhaheads " that turns to understanding when a group of Hawai'i soldiers visits one of the concentration camps that the families of Kotonk soldiers were being held in; the arrival in Italy and early battles; and the battles in Vosges Mountains in France, culminating with the Lost Battalion rescue. He recounts how they later came back to as heroes, though they still faced prejudice, how the Hawai'i veterans worked to change Hawai'i in the political arena after the war, and recognition they received in subsequent years. The story ends back in the Vosges, when an unnamed general (modeled on General John Dahlquist ) demands that all the men of the 442nd assemble, not realizing that the few he saw before him were all that were left. The book ends with a summary of decorations earned, followed by a few pages of ads and acknowledgements.
The comic book stemmed from a project to make a dramatic film based on the 100th/442nd story led by Stacey Hayashi, who authored the comic book. Damon Wong did the drawings. The 45-page book was funded in part by a grant from the Yamada-Scott Family Foundation, as well as donations from many other individuals. Released on October 6, 2012, half of the book's 10,000 copy print run was donated to schools and libraries.