Moriso Teraoka
100th Infantry Battalion

Homecoming

After serving 33 months in the army, Moriso is discharged in December 1945. He returns to Wainaku and is reunited with his family.

Moriso’s father has lined up a white-collar job for him at the plantation but having seen so much of the world, Moriso decides he does not want to go back to life at the mill camp. He heads for Oahu.

[The following text is excerpted from "My Legacy: The Inheritance of a Will" by Moriso Teraoka.]

After serving 33 months in the army, I was discharged in December and returned to civilian life on December 26, 1945. This memorable episode is forever in my heart.

Unidentified soldiers and Moriso Teraoka (second from right) on a DC-3 transport plane flying from the East to the West coast en route home at the end of the war. December 1945.
Unidentified soldiers and Moriso Teraoka (second from right) on a DC-3 transport plane flying from the East to the West coast en route home at the end of the war.

Yamato damashi

Nisei soldiers fought the war with unity, valor, perseverance, and honor, even if it meant personal sacrifices. It is not difficult to understand our achievements fighting the enemies in France and Italy.

The 100th/442nd became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and for its length of service. The Combat Team fought the war and left a legacy for the future generations of soldiers to inherit.

Moriso Teraoka at Camp Patrick Henry in Virginia, a stop en route home at the end of the war. Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. Late November or early December 1945.
Moriso Teraoka at Camp Patrick Henry in Virginia, a stop en route home at the end of the war.

We learned that in unity there is strength. Our community welfare was the concern of every family. Our grieving for our lost loved ones was shared by the whole. Our happy occasions were likewise a shared happiness. These traditional values were inherited from our Issei parents.

442nd Regimental Combat Team marching in de-activation ceremony at Kapiolani Park. Honolulu, Hawaii. August 1946.
442nd Regimental Combat Team marching in de-activation ceremony at Kapiolani Park.

[Our Issei parents’ time] was the period in history when Japan began to westernize their country. The creed known as Yamato damashi, a spirit of being Japanese in terms of traditional values, such as valor, perseverance, honor and even personal sacrifices identified the Japanese people of that period known as the Meiji era.

All of the Issei immigrants of the Meiji era brought this creed, Yamato damashi, with them to Hawaii. To a Japanese, the idea of tradition is very important and therefore Yamato damashi often has been used to point back to past glory as a guide to future ways that the Japanese people should be.

Homecoming

After I returned from the service, I went to each family and thanked the head of the household for watching over my parents during my absence. “Osewa ni narimashite arigatoo gozaimasu,” were the words I said.

Studio portrait of Moriso Teraoka in uniform taken after returning home from the war. Hilo, Hawaii. January 1946
Studio portrait of Moriso Teraoka in uniform taken after returning home from the war. Hilo, Hawaii. January 1946.

Humility and filial piety were the virtues that were taught to me by my parents.

My father had assumed that I would be back working within the structure of the plantation and had a white-collar job waiting for me. But having seen the mainland United States, France, and Italy, I was not about to resume my life and settle in Wainaku Mill Camp where I was born.

"My Legacy: The Inheritance of a Will" was reprinted with the permission of Moriso Teraoka. Photographs courtesy of Moriso Teraoka.

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