Fujii & Nakamura Streets


Tamaye Fujii lives just a stone’s throw away from the street named for her older brother, Yutaka. His friends called him “Dovey,” although his brother and sister never knew why.

Pfc. Yutaka Fujii was a handsome young man. He was the eldest of Teiichi and Tatsu Fujii’s eight children, born on Aug. 21, 1911. “He was a good brother, very strict,” recalled Tamaye Fujii. He looked after the younger children because his immigrant parents were busy working to provide for the family. She said he was also very principled and would not hesitate to argue his point if he felt he was right.

Yutaka’s formal education ended at the eighth grade at Lihue School. From there, he went straight to work as a warehouse clerk for Lihue Plantation Company.

He was drafted into the Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion in March of 1941 and trained at Schofield Barracks. The unit was renamed the 100th Infantry Battalion when it was sent to the Mainland for training. Fujii and the other “One Puka Puka” boys trained at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin and later at Camp Shelby in Mississippi.

He was originally a member of “F (Fox)” Company. The 100th was an oversized battalion, so “E” and “F” companies were created at Camp McCoy to accommodate the extra soldiers. As the other companies lost members in combat, “E” and “F” soldiers replaced them, until the two companies were completely disbanded. Fujii was transferred from “F” Company to “C (Charlie)” Company.

Yutaka’s younger brother, Frankie, volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The last of the three Fujii brothers, Tonaichi, served in the Korean Conflict.

“He (Yutaka) liked to play baseball and was interested in all kinds of things. He was good with his hands, not like me,” laughed Frankie, who last saw Yutaka while in basic training at Camp Shelby when the 100th boys had visited. Yutaka saw action in Algeria and Italy. It was in Italy on Jan. 24, 1944, near Cassino-where one of the fiercest battles of the European theater was fought-that he was killed in action. He was 32 years old at the time. Fujii was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and Ribbon, American Campaign Medal and Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and Ribbon, and World War II Victory Medal and Ribbon.

His remains were returned to his family in Lihue. Following a Buddhist service, he was interred at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe. Brother “Tona,” who fought in the Korean War, is interred near Yutaka’s grave. “Between the two of them, they saw the world,” remarked Frankie Fujii.

Tamaye Fujii didn’t know until a few years later that the Fujii Street located two blocks away from her home was named for Yutaka. The gesture made her happy. Ironically, she lives on a street named for another young man, who, like Yutaka gave his life for his country in World War II.