Fred Shiosaki, the American-born son of Japanese immigrants, was determined to join the military almost immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
When he turned 18 the following summer, Shiosaki took a bus to Spokane, Wash., to sign up with the Selective Service. But when he told the young officer behind the desk he wanted to enlist, Shiosaki was met with a blank-face stare.
“You can’t sign up,” the officer told him. “You’re an enemy alien.”
Because Shiosaki lived in a small, mostly white community, he’d “missed one essential piece of news about Japanese Americans and the service,” writes Daniel James Brown in his new book “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” (Viking).
Just a month after the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Pearl Harbor, the War Department decreed that Japanese Americans were ineligible to serve in the US military — and draft boards were instructed to