Tohoru Isobe, who served in the Korean War in the Military Intelligence Service, will lead the Japanese American Korean War Veterans for the next year.

Isobe is a past president of the JAKWV, having served two years in 2007-2008.

Last year, under the leadership of Bacon Sakatani, JAKWV held a Memorial Day ceremony at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, hosted a hospitality room at Nisei Week in August for over 300 attendees, and marched in the Nisei Week Parade with Medal of Honor recipient and charter member Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura leading the JAKWV as grand marshal. JAKWV was followed by a large contingent of Vietnam War veterans, whose group is getting larger every year.

Tohoru Isobe
Tohoru Isobe

Members of the JAKWV also participated in a Korean War veterans’ reunion sponsored by the Hawaii Chapter 1 from Honolulu. This event was held at The Cal in June 2014 and attended by 250 veterans and families.

The JAKWV, instituted in 1997, is now in its 18th year and still going strong with the veterans themselves serving the organization. It has about 500 members from all over the country and many supporters, including other veterans, family members, friends and travel group members.

Past presidents are: Robert Wada (charter president), 1997-2000; Minoru Tonai, 2001-2002; Sam Shimoguchi, 2003-2004; Victor Muraoka, 2005-2006; Tohoru Isobe, 2007-2008; Thomi Yamamoto, 2009-2011; Minoru Tonai, 2012-2013; Bacon Sakatani, 2014-present.

The new president will be installed at the 19th annual installation and New Year’s celebration on Saturday, Jan. 17, at Sea Empress Seafood Restaurant, 1636 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena. Reception is at 11:30 a.m. and lunch at 12:30 p.m.

Sam Shimoguchi will chair the event. Dave Miyoshi, JAKWV legal counsel, will induct the president-elect and the cabinet and will conduct the “missing man” ceremony. Min Tonai will act as emcee, and the main speaker will be Ken Hayashi, president of the Memorial Court Preservation Committee. Hayashi and Miyoshi are Vietnam veterans who are active with veterans’ groups, the Japanese American community and the JACCC.

The Nisei Week Queen and her court will attend, as will JAKWV’s South Korean comrades from Koreatown and representatives from the Veterans Administration.

All local veterans’ organizations, the community, and anyone with interest in veterans are invited to participate and give support to the JAKWV.

The Travel Group is again invited to have a mini-reunion, and it is hoped that everyone who has traveled with the JAKWV will renew friendships and share memories of trips taken since 1997. Last year the group traveled to Nova Scotia and had one of its best trips thanks to local travel guide Stephanie Allen and Ernest and Carol Hida of the American Holiday Travel company.

Dress: casual. JAKWV members are asked to wear the white organizational polo shirt.

Cost for the event is $30 per person. Make check payable to JAKWV and send it with the names of all participants to Sam Shimoguchi, 12557 Allin St., Los Angeles, CA 90066. He can also be reached at (310) 822-6688 or

For information, contact Victor Muraoka at (818) 590-6724 or

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