Letters from the 442nd: The World War II Correspondence of a Japanese American Medic (book)
Creators: Minoru Masuda, Hana Masuda, Dianne Bridgman
Book cover. Courtesy of University of Washington Press
View in the Densho Encyclopedia
The editor begins the book by explaining the process by which she came to work with Hana Matsuda, Minoru Masuda's wife, in compiling and editing the letters that were included in this volume. This is followed by a brief biography of Minoru, from his childhood in Seattle as the child of Issei immigrants who ran a hotel, his education at the University of Washington in pharmacology, his marriage to Haru, and their incarceration, first at "Camp Harmony" (Puyallup, Washington), then Minidoka. Minoru volunteered for the 442nd out of Minidoka, and was made a medic.
The letters comprise the bulk of the volume, and trace Minoru's experiences with the 442nd, the challenges he and other medics faced receiving proper recognition for their experience of combat, his longings for home, descriptions of the European cities he and other soldiers visited between battles, and his thoughts about the future. The letters themselves are occasionally interspersed with commentary by Hana as well as entries from the Medical Detachment Log that explain where he was when he was writing the letters—his exact location was something he was not allowed to disclose in the letters themselves.
Minoru Masuda (1915-80) was a psychiatrist in Seattle who also actively worked towards seeking redress. He was born in Seattle and had received his Masters in Pharmacology from the University of Washington when he and his family were excluded from the West Coast. He initially did not intend to return to Washington because of the bad memories associated with exclusion, but was convinced by a former professor to continue his education at the University of Washington. After he was discharged from the army, he returned with his wife to Seattle, where he established a career in psychiatry. His papers were donated to the University of Washington library archives.