Go For Broke

National Education Center

The mission of the Hanashi (“to talk”) Oral History Collection is to gather and preserve the life stories of Japanese American war veterans. Since 1998, the program has collected more than 1,200 audiovisual interviews of Nisei veterans, as well as their contemporaries, of WWII.

These oral histories provide valuable insight into the war experience that cannot be conveyed by official records alone. They capture the feelings and textures of experiences that are as varied as the individuals who lived through them.

The Hanashi Oral History Collection gives voice to those who until now may have had little opportunity, motivation, or desire to share their stories. It also allows the Nisei generation to connect with younger generations.

Their testimonies reveal as much about historical events as about issues that continue to face our nation today, such as the importance of civil liberties and racial acceptance.

It is through this vital collection that the contributions of Japanese American World War II veterans live on into the future.

The Go For Broke Monument stands as a powerful tribute to the Japanese American World War II veterans.

These courageous individuals fought to serve their country and to prove their patriotism so that their families and future generations could live and work freely in the United States without fear of discrimination or racial prejudice.

The black granite monument is engraved with the names of more than 16,000 Japanese American men and women who served during the war. It includes the Nisei soldiers who served in these military units during World War II in the European, Pacific, and China-Burma-India theaters:

Located in the historic district of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California, the Go For Broke Monument today welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from around the world each year.

Educational Resources

Go For Broke National Education Center promotes educational initiatives on the Japanese American WWII veteran experience through the Defining Courage permanent exhibition, traveling exhibitions, public programs, oral history and archival collections, lesson plans, and school tours. A timeline and extensive history on our website of these veterans provides background for students and researchers.

School tours of the Defining Courage exhibition are offered to grades 5-12 paired with a workshop on oral histories using clips from our Hanashi collection. Additional programming in collaboration with Little Tokyo organizations is also available on a seasonal basis.

Visit to see our current offerings and education programming.

In 2016, we opened our interpretive exhibition to the public. Go For Broke National Education Center’s Defining Courage Exhibition is a hands-on and participatory learning center in the heart of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo historic district. The interactive exhibition explores the concept of courage through the lives of young Japanese Americans who lived during WWII, asking visitors to act with similar courage in their own lives.

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