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…the story is of historical interest for several reasons. First, though Abe was an American citizen by birth, from ages nine to 19 he was brought back to Japan for his education and groomed to be an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army. To avoid military service his father sent him back to the U.S., where he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941, serving with military intelligence throughout WWII. The second aspect of Abe’s distinct story is his service as a translator and interrogator during WWII. It was Abe’s job to coax Japanese defenders into surrendering during the ferocious island campaigns of WWII in the Pacific. Finally, the Abe story illustrates the challenges and injustices faced by the American immigrant communities during WWII even as their sons fought and sacrificed on the battlefield. Vea omits much about Abe’s life and career, but her otherwise moving and informative story illuminates a rarely discussed aspect of the WWII experience.

Masao: A Nisei Soldier’s Secret and Heroic Role in World War II, by Sandra Vea, is an insightful book on Masao Abe’s experience in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during WW II while his family was imprisoned in an internment camp. Born in San Bernardino, CA and schooled in America and Japan, Abe, a decorated linguist, served with the Marines in combat operations in Angaur and

Peleliu and with the infantry in the liberation of Leyte, Philippines. Having two body guards to protect him from being shot by fellow Americans, he was shot by a Japanese as he persuaded them to surrender. He survived after two months of hospitalization in New Caledonia and was assigned for the invasion of Leyte, Philippines before he was fully recovered.

This story and the stories of three other combat linguists discussed elsewhere in this Advocate, highlight the extent Nisei served in the Asia Pacific combat zone. The Nisei goal in these “cave flushing” operations was twofold: to collect tactical intelligence and pass it to field commanders in real time to plan counterattacks and to save lives. When the war ended he had ample points to qualify for an honorable discharge, however, he accepted the assignment to Japan to assist in the demobilization of the Imperial Japanese armed forces and the Occupation of Japan. Masao was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal which are given for front line duty. He was awarded two additional Bronze Star Medals for meritorious service.

Sandra Vea was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She attended the University of Washington, Western Washington University for graduate studies in Education, and Seattle University. The publisher/author contact is 

See the review here -  page 14: