Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Service Battery
Michio Fujikawa was born on May 24, 1918, in Eleele Camp, Kauai, Territory of Hawaii. He was one of nine boys and four girls born to Jutaro and Ine (Tsugimura) Fujikawa: sons Jukichi, Albert Hideo, Masao, Daniel Yoshito, Michio, Shigeru, Satoru, and Takeo; and daughters: Kimiyo, Martha Mitsuko, Marjorie Fusako, and Teruko. Jutaro emigrated from Kuga District, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, on the Michi Maru, arriving in Honolulu on August 19, 1896. Ine emigrated in 1902 from Yamaguchi Prefecture. Jutaro worked for the McBryde Sugar Company. In 1905, he was working for the company store and was a Federal Deputy Tax Collector. In 1910 and 1920, he was a clerk in the company store. In 1930, he was the assistant bookkeeper for the store.
Michio graduated from Waimea Intermediate School. Before moving to live with his aunt in Honolulu, he served as business manager and reporter for the Eleele Highlander Gazette. He was also a member of the Happy-Go-Lucky Pioneer Club, earning his Master’s Insignia and serving as Treasurer. After moving to Honolulu, he attended Mid-Pacific Institute and graduated in 1936.
Michio registered for the draft on October 26, 1940, Local Board No. 3 at the National Guard Armory in Honolulu. He listed his aunt, Mrs. T. Muramoto, 2728 Huapala Street, as his point of contact. He was employed at the Moana Hotel in Waikiki. Michio was 5‘8” tall and weighed 130 pounds.
On March 24, 1943, Michio enlisted in the Army. His civilian occupation was “Semi-skilled chauffeurs and drivers,”and he had attended one year of college. He was sent to the “tent city” known as Boom Town at Schofield Barracks with other volunteers. They were given a farewell aloha ceremony by the community on March 28 at Iolani Palace. On April 4, the new soldiers left on the S.S. Lurline for San Francisco enroute to Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
After basic training, he was assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Service Battery, of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT). This was followed by specialized training and field maneuvers until April 1944. On May 2, the 442nd shipped out to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in a convoy of over 100 ships from Hampton Roads, Virginia.
The 522nd was aboard the transport ship John Hopkins, which arrived at the east coast of Italy. The main body of the Battalion disembarked at Brindisi and the remainder at Bari. The rest of the 442nd had landed in Naples on the west coast on May 28. After debarking, the 522nd soldiers loaded into “40 and 8” railroad boxcars from WWI, and traveled to Bagnoli, near Naples, where their howitzers, vehicles, and other equipment had been delivered. They got down to the task of getting prepared for combat. A week later they were ready, and on June 6, they boarded the US LST 526 at Port Nisidra and sailed to the Anzio beachhead. From there to June 11, the Battalion continued to move north, conducting training enroute, and rejoined the 442nd infantry battalions near Civitavecchia.
On June 26, the first artillery rounds were fired against the Germans near Suvereto in support of the 442nd RCT. The 522nd’s howitzers continued their fire support of the advance of the RCT infantry battalions as they pushed the Germans north. On September 11, the Battalion was moved from Pisa back to Naples aboard the USS Richard K. Call; then, on September 27 boarded the USS Thurston and shipped to Marseilles for the battles through France. Michio participated in all the battles of the Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaigns in France.
In February 1945, the 522nd was reassigned to the Seventh Army to add its firepower to the assault on the Siegfried Line in the German homeland. Often the lead element in the chase across Germany, the 522nd made 52 displacements, firing 15,019 rounds, from March 12 to the end of the war on May 8, 1945. In the last week of April, elements of the Battalion stumbled into the horrifying death camps of the Dachau Concentration Complex, and are credited with liberating at least one of the subcamps and rescuing thousands of prisoners from the “Dachau Death March.” Additionally, they liberated French Army prisoners from another prison camp. When the war ended, the Battalion was assigned security missions around Donauworth, 72 miles northwest of Munich. Michio also fought in this Central Europe Campaign.
For his military service, Private First Class Michio Fujikawa was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze service stars, World War II Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal. He 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.
Michio returned to Hawaii aboard the Army transport ship USAT Mexico on January 15, 1946. He was among 272 Nisei veterans, many from the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, who arrived at 8:00 a.m. at Pier 39-B in Honolulu Harbor. He was discharged from the Army on January 18, 1946, at the Army Separation Center at Fort Kamehameha on Oahu.
Above: Mid Pacific Institute Class of 1936 – Fujikawa is back row, 8th from left
After the war, Fujikawa settled in Honolulu where he worked for the Hawaii Department of State. He was active in the 442nd Veterans Club, where he was on the Grounds Committee and the Social Committee. He also enjoyed golf and played with the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA). For some time in the 1970s and 1980s, he lived in Los Angeles at 1025 South Berendo Street and 1029 Fedora Street.
Michio Fujikawa passed away on January 15, 2002, in Honolulu. He was interred in the Oahu Cemetery, Section 17, in the family plot.
Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in October 2021.