James Satoshi Kawashima was born September 19, 1918, at 2859 Manoa Road, Honolulu, T.H. He was the eldest of three sons of Sakichi and Masaki (Nishimura) Kawashima. Father Sakichi had arrived in 1907 from Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Mother Masaki was born in Honolulu to Rokuro and Tatsuye Nishimura who arrived from Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in 1899.
Jimmy, as he was known, was raised at Kualii, the historic, 30-acre Manoa property that was home to the family of Charles Montague Cooke Jr. and his wife Lila Lefferts Cooke. His father served as chauffeur and his mother as house maid. Among the entire staff, his parents held the highest positions. When James became old enough, he worked for the head gardener.
On October 26, 1940, he signed his WWII Draft Registration card at Local Board No. 4, 1083 S. Beretania Street. His next-of-kin was his mother, he was employed by C.M. Cooke Jr., and he was 5’6”, 125 lbs.
On March 25, 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. His residence was the Cooke address on Manoa Road, he was listed as “gardener/groundskeeper,” and he had attended McKinley High School. On June 21, 1941, Jimmy was among the 146 Selective Service men of the 298th Infantry of the Hawaii National Guard who had just completed 13 weeks of intensive training on Oahu. By August 16 records show that he was in Company G of the 298th stationed at National Guard Woods, their new home at Schofield Barracks.
In 1942 Kawashima was among the 1,432 officers and men who sailed on the SS Maui and arrived in San Francisco on June 12. They were designated the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) and James was a Corporal in 1st Platoon, Company C. They trained at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, and later at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Kawashima and the 100th shipped out on the SS James Parker from New York Harbor to the Mediterranean Theater. Initially landing in Oran, Algeria, on September 2, the 100th entered the combat zone at Salerno, Italy, on September 23, 1942.
He served with the 100th in the Naples-Foggia Campaign and then all the campaigns of the 100th/442nd: Rome-Arno, Rhineland-Vosges, Rhineland-Maritime Alps, and Northern Apennines-Po Valley. Jimmy was wounded in his left arm in November 1943, by shrapnel from a land mine explosion. The exact date was not found but it was during the Naples-Foggia Campaign in the vicinity of Pozzilli and Venafro, Italy. He was in the hospital about a month and then returned to duty in December.
Due to his length of service (37 months overseas) and his having been wounded, Kawashima had accumulated enough points to return home from the war soon after V-E Day. On June 28, 1945, he landed at the Miami Army-Air Force Field in Florida, and was then sent to Camp Beale, north of Sacramento, California, before arriving back in Honolulu shortly thereafter.
Kawashima was awarded the following decorations for his wartime service: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Medal (Pre-Pearl Harbor Medal), and the European-African-Middle Eastern Ribbon with five bronze stars. The Bronze Star Medal was awarded for “heroic achievement in action” on April 21, 1945, near Aulla, Italy, in the Po Valley Campaign.
Jimmy quickly applied for a marriage license with Shizue Irene Araki of Manoa Valley on July 18, 1945. They were married in a double ceremony with his brother, PFC Oscar Kiyoshi Kawashima and his bride Alice Kunie Nakahama in the living room of Kualii. The wedding reception at Seaside Gardens on Ala Moana Boulevard served also as his homecoming. They honeymooned at the Cooke home on Maui and lived on the Kualii estate afterwards. A decade later they were still employed as groundsman and maid, respectively, at the Cooke estate and they were living on the property. (Note: Brother Oscar served from June 21, 1944, to March 7, 1946, in the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion on Oahu and is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.)
Later, James was employed as a groundskeeper by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City and County of Honolulu and they lived on One Street in Manoa. Over the years he was active in the 100th Infantry Battalion veterans club, called Club 100, and he also played in Club 100’s baseball and bowling leagues. He and his brother Oscar earned their Black Belts in 1947 at the Anuenue o Manoa Judo Club.
James Satoshi Kawashima died on April 26, 2005. He was predeceased by his wife, and survived by two sons and three daughters, and his brother David. He was inurned next to his wife in the Columbarium (Section Ct8-E, Row 500, Site 519) at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. Their joint plaque bears the inscription Loving Parents.
Visit the following website to read a story written in 1986 about the famous photograph taken of Kawashima in the Vosges: James Kawashima (hawaii.edu)