Marauders and Friends, New Delhi, September 1944
L-R: Nishimura; Robert K. Honda, Oahu, HI; Russel K. Kono, Hilo, HI; Yas Koiki, Oakland, CA; Herbert Y. Miyasaki, Paauilo, HI.
A native of Seattle born in 1919, Nishimura is the first son of Hisao and Fumiko Nishimura, immigrants from Hiroshima Prefecture. Inducted into the Army in February 1942, he received his basic training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, following which he was selected for the MISLS, Camp Savage. He was able, while on furlough from Savage, to visit his parents and his younger brother at the Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho.
Nishimura was assigned to a team of 10 Nisei linguists led by Harry K. Andow, formerly of Los Angeles. The team, dispatched in August 1943 to the China-Burma-India Theater under the command of Admiral Lord Mountbatten, was attached to the Southeast Asia Translation/Jnterrogation Center (SEATIC) and comprised the first of some 100 MISers who were to serve in that region. He spent most of his time in India and the last six months in Burma, translating captured documents and interrogating Japanese POWs.
While participating in operations in Burma, he earned the dubious distinction of being "captured" with his Anglo-Indian bodyguard by British troops who mistook them in a moonlit camp as being Japanese soldiers. Taken to a British command post, he briskly saluted, gave his name, rank (staff sergeant), serial number, his unit's name, and the British commanding officer's name. He was released forthwith.
Among the pluses of military service, Nishimura counts the establishment of life-long friendships with Tom S. (and Terrie) Taketa, Marysville/San Jose, California, and Harry (and Elaine) Kojima, of Suisun/Woodland, California.
Discharged in November 1945, he took advantage of the GI Bill to complete his college education at the University of Washington. After his graduation, he served his alma mater as a biologist in the university's Health Sciences Student/Research Laboratory. Married in 1953 to Dorothy Hisako Yoshida, the couple have three adult daughters, Celia, Robyn, and Karen.
Nishimura has been active in the Seattle Japanese American Citizens League, and in the Redress campaign, as well as in local politics. One of the highlights of his political service was an invitation extended to him and his wife and other Washingtonians to a White House lunch and meeting with President and Roslyn Carter and senior advisers on October 26, 1979. On a later occasion, on April 3,1988, he had a face-to-face meeting in Tokyo with Seuchi Sano, a former Japanese POW who had served in Burma. Nishimura had picked up in Burma a personal battle flag inscribed with the names of Sano and friends and family, and had kept it as a souvenir. Years later; he returned it to the Sano family, only to discover that Sano was still living.
Nishimura is the author of Trials and Triumphs of the Nikkei (Mercer Island. Fukuda Publishers, 1993). The book is a memoir and an informal history of his family and of the Japanese American experience in America.