James J. Kanada
Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
100th Battalion, A Company
James J. “Jimmy” Kanada, son of Suejiro and Tatsumi (Fukugawa) Kanada, was born on September 3, 1923, in Concord, California. He was one of six siblings—Frank Masao, Aki, George, Harry, James J., and Tatsuki. His father, Suejiro, was born in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. His father first immigrated in 1907, and returned from a trip to Japan on May 14, 1916 on the Persia Maru, with his wife, Tatsumi.
James was a farmer at the time the War broke out, and his family was interred at the Turlock Assembly Center, Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona. The family entered the camp on Aug 12, 1942, and departed on Sep 18, 1945.
James registered for the draft on June 20, 1942 at the Local Board No. 54, Martinez, Contra Costa County, California. He was 5’7” tall and weighed 135 pounds. He listed his occupation as Farm Hand, Fruit. He was inducted into the Army and received his basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida. He served with the 100th Battalion, A Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and was killed in action on April 5, 1945, during the last push in the Po Valley Campaign in Italy; just weeks before the War ended in Europe.
For his military service, Private James J. Kanada was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star, WWII Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Distinguished Unit Badge.
James was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on October 5, 2010, along with the other veterans of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. This is the highest Congressional Civilian Medal.
James is interred at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California, Plot J, Site 817.
His brothers served in the 442nd RCT: George – Pfc/3Bn, L Co; Harry H. – Pfc/3Bn, K Co; and Tatsuke – Pvt/2Bn, F Co.
Katherine Baishiki/Evelyn C. Kanada
12/18/01 (revised 5/1/03)
Original Biography prepared by Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Memorial Alliance, and provided courtesy of Japanese American Living Legacy (http://www.jalivinglegacy.org/)