Masanobu Eugene Kawakami

A Company

Masanobu Eugene Kawakami was born on October 21, 1913 in Honolulu, as the second of seven children. His father immigrated to Honolulu from Fukuoka, Japan in 1900, and his mother arrived as a picture bride from Kurume, Japan in 1911. The family lived in the Puunui area. His father was a cook for a private household. Eugene began Maemae school in 1919, and was later selected to attend Lincoln School, a designated English Standard School, which he attended until grade 9. He then attended McKinley High School for one year, before leaving school at age 16 to help provide for his family.

On October 26, 1940, at age 27, Eugene registered with the Selective Service in accordance with the Selective Training and Service Act. He received his orders to report for induction on March 24, 1941 and was one of the Second Draft Inductees. He was assigned to the 298th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaii Army National Guard. On May 10, 1941, he took a short leave of absence from basic training, and married Yoshiye Gladys Sasaki. On November 1 he was promoted from Private to Corporal in Co. “F”, 298th Infantry. Then on November 14 he was transferred to the Enlisted Reserve Corps and discharged from the army due to being 28 years of age. He and his wife resided in Puunui with his family.

On December 7, 1941, he and his wife were awoken by the sound of the planes and bombing. Wearing his 298th Infantry army uniform, he was able to get through the roadblocks and report to Iolani Palace for duty. The next day Eugene entered into active service at Fort Shafter. On April 1, 1942, he was promoted from Corporal to Sergeant of Co. “F” in the 298th Infantry. He departed for training on the mainland on June 5, 1942 without a single word to his family.

Eugene was assigned to Co. “A” in the newly created 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), and was promoted to Staff Sergeant in Co. “A” in August. He completed training with the battalion at Camp McCoy, Camp Shelby, and Camp Claiborne. He first experienced battle in Italy on September 26, 1943. On October 20 he was wounded in the battle at San Angelo D’Alife.

After recovering from his injuries, Eugene continued serving in the military until receiving his Honorable Discharge from the United States Army on June 12, 1945. Upon his return to civilian life, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service until his retirement in 1973. He and Gladys had two children, and were active members of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veteran’s club, “Club 100,” throughout their lives.

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