Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) today announced that Salt Lake City, Utah will host “Portraits of Courage: Photographs by Shane Sato,” an exhibition featuring intimate color and black-and-white portraits of Japanese American veterans of World War II. The emotive images capture the essence and character of Nisei (second-generation) Japanese American soldiers, and reflect each veteran’s story of commitment, duty and patriotism.
Funded in part through the Aratani Foundation and Utah Humanities, the photo exhibit will go on public display from August 6-September 20, 2019 at the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT, 84111. “Portraits of Courage: Photographs by Shane Sato” will be free of charge during the library’s regular operating hours of Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The photography exhibit highlights images from Sato’s 2017 book “The Go For Broke Spirit,” which includes portraits, personal snapshots and biographies of more than 80 Nisei veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service. Many of the Nisei veterans joined the military from Hawaii, then a territory, or from U.S. concentration camps on the mainland. The renowned 100th/442nd remains the most highly decorated military unit in U.S. history for its size and length of service.
Military Intelligence Service veteran Wataru “Wat” Misaka, a Utah native, will be featured within the exhibition. Misaka, who debuted with the New York Knicks in 1947, is the first person of color to play modern professional basketball.
Sato, a Los Angeles-based professional photographer, devoted more than 18 years to the Nisei veterans’ project, initially creating a series of black-and-white portraits and later expanding to color images of Nisei veterans in vintage military uniforms. Working with oral historian Robert Horsting, Sato captured the individual veterans’ personal stories and pictures in “The Go For Broke Spirit.” Sato and Horsting continue their work on a second volume of “The Go For Broke Spirit” that will include more portraits of Nisei veterans from across the country.
Sato said he felt driven to immortalize the Nisei veterans’ legacy through his photography. “These men fought the battle for freedom and equality, risking the ultimate sacrifice for a better future for me and future generations,” Sato said. “This is not just Japanese American history—it is American history.”
“Shane Sato’s ‘Portraits of Courage’ is a rare artistic tribute to the Nisei soldiers of World War II,” Mitchell T. Maki, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of GFBNEC, said. “Each image tells a unique then-and-now story of a young Japanese American man caught up in the hysteria following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. These deeply personal stories of young Americans determined to prove their loyalty to the U.S. will educate and inspire viewers of all ages.”
Note to Media: “Go For Broke” was the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Army unit composed of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland. The term was Hawaiian slang for “shooting the works,” or risking everything for the big win in gambling–as the Nisei soldiers did while fighting in the field in WWII and facing prejudice at home in the U.S.
About Go For Broke National Education Center
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that educates the public on the valor of Japanese American veterans of World War II and their contributions to democracy. Our goal is to inspire new generations to embody the Japanese American veterans’ core values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility and patriotism. Founded in 1989, GFBNEC maintains the Go For Broke Monument and the interactive “GFBNEC’s Defining Courage Exhibition” in downtown Los Angeles, as well as extensive oral histories and archives, education and training programs, and other initiatives. For more information, please visit www.goforbroke.org.