The Wing


Educator Resources

Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers

A graphic novel by Lawrence Matsuda and Matt Sasaki

Created in partnership by The Wing and
the Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation

Available now

Call the Marketplace at 206-623-5124 x203 to purchase over the phone.

This graphic novel tells the story of six brave and courageous Nisei soldiers from the Pacific Northwest who proved their loyalty and made a significant mark in American history.

  • Shiro Kashino, Infantry
  • Roy Matsumoto, Military Intelligence Service (MIS)
  • Tosh Yasutake, Medic
  • Jimmie Kanaya, Medic
  • Frank Nishimura, Infantry
  • Turk Suzuki, Infantry

Their stories are based on real and actual events, which were dramatized and translated to meet the visual and narrative requirements of a graphic novel.

Roger Shimomura, Artist
Photo by Emily Momohara

“Matt Sasaki’s illustrations are refreshingly original, beautifully expressive, and perfectly supplement the stories about the heroic achievements of six American patriots. Whether you favor reading or looking at graphic novels, this one is definitely worth your time.”

Ken Mochizuki, Author of Baseball Saved Us, Heroes and Meet Me at Higo

“With engaging biographies, Matsuda and Sasaki succinctly relate the Japanese American experience during World War II. Sasaki’s intense illustrations leap off the page!”

Toshiko Hasegawa
Japanese American Citizens League

“There is great bravery in the honesty within the pages of this book. This same courage affords us the benefit of yesterday’s lessons, today’s blessings and the hope we harbor for still a better tomorrow. These stories don’t just describe what it was to be Japanese – they describe what it means to be American.”

Also available

Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers Curriculum Guide: Downloadable PDF

An American Hero, Frank Nishimura animated video, produced in partnership with the Seattle Channel

Winner of:
Northwest Regional EMMY, Craft-Editing, 2017

Northwest Regional EMMY, Historic/Cultural - Program/Special, 2017

An American Hero, Shiro Kashino Stand-alone Chapter

and An American Hero, Shiro Kashino animated video, produced in partnership with the Seattle Channel

Winner of:
Northwest Regional EMMY, Historic/Cultural - Program/Special, 2016

Screened at:
DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon, finalist for Best Short, April 29-May 1, 2016
Seattle Asian American Film Festival, February 19-21, 2016


Upcoming Events

October 29, 2016
Nisei Veterans Committee Hall
1212 S. King St., Seattle 98144

Meet with Author Lawrence Matsuda to discover how he transformed veterans' stories into a graphic novel, illustrated by Artist Matt Sasaki, then dive into how to use the novel and its curriculum in your classroom. Clock hours pending. Registration applications available in June. More details can be found here.

Past Events

September 12, 2015 doors open at 1pm, formal program at 1:30pm
Nisei Veterans Committee Hall
1212 S. King St., Seattle 98144

Celebrate the graphic novel release with Author Lawrence Matsuda and Artist Matt Sasaki and surviving featured veterans and their families.

October 10, 2015, 8:30am-3:30pm
Nisei Veterans Committee Hall
1212 S. King St., Seattle 98144

Meet with Author Lawrence Matsuda and Matt Sasaki to discover how they transformed veterans stories into their graphic novel, then dive into how to use the novel and its curriculum in your classroom. 

November 21, 2015, 1pm-2:30pm
Wing Luke Museum
719 S. King St., Seattle 98104

Author Lawrence Matsuda will present and sign copies of the new graphic novel, with special screening of An American Hero, Shiro Kashino animated video.

In the News

Stories of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in WWII told in graphic novel
Ryan Takeo, KING 5 [December 7, 2016]

Drawn to history: WWII graphic novel recounts exploits, lives of six Nisei soldiers
Luciano Marano, Bainbridge Island Review [April 11, 2016]

Three Seattle Channel docs profiling Asian Americans featured at local film festivals
Take 21: Seattle Channel [February 17, 2016]

‘Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers’ – Graphic Novel Preserves Stories for Future Audiences
Ken Mochizuki, International Examiner [September 11, 2015]

My September Author – Lawrence Matsuda!
Inspiring Social Change Through Fiction [August 30, 2015]

Book about Nisei soldiers casts new light on our history
Jerry Large, Seattle Times [August 26, 2015]

About the Author and Artist

Photo by Tara Gimmer
Lawrence Matsuda

Lawrence Matsuda was born in the Minidoka, Idaho Concentration Camp during World War II.

He and his family were among the approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese held without due process for approximately three years or more. Matsuda has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Washington and was: a secondary teacher, university counselor, state level administrator, school principal, assistant superintendent, educational consultant, and visiting professor at Seattle University (SU).

 In 2005, he and two SU colleagues co-edited the book, Community and difference: teaching, pluralism and social justice, Peter Lang Publishing, New York. It won the 2006 National Association of Multicultural Education Philip Chinn Book Award. In July 2010, his book of poetry entitled, A Cold Wind from Idaho, was published by Black Lawrence Press in New York. 

His poems appear in Ambush Review, Raven Chronicles, New Orleans Review, Floating Bridge Review, Black Lawrence Press website, Poets Against the War website, Cerise Press, Nostalgia Magazine, Plumepoetry, Malpais Review, Zero Ducats, Surviving Minidoka (book), Meet Me at Higo (book), Minidoka:  An American Concentration Camp (book and photographs), Tidepools Magazine, and the Seattle Journal for Social Justice.

In addition, eight of his poems were the subject of a 60-minute dance presentation entitled, Minidoka, performed by Whitman College students in Walla Walla, Washington (2011). 

His new book, Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner, published by CreateSpace was released in August 2014. It is a collection of Matsuda’s poetry and Roger Shimomura’s art.


Matt Sasaki

Matt Sasaki was born in Seattle, Washington, the only boy amongst three sisters. He and his siblings grew up in the neighborhood of Beacon Hill. His father was a pharmacist and mother a schoolteacher. As a child, Matt channeled his youthful energy into drawing bizarre characters and creating storylines for the little ballpoint pen books he created out of scraps of paper and staples. Soon little Matty discovered that if he did art projects for his teachers, he could get out of doing real schoolwork.

In his young adult years, Matt worked nights stocking shelves in a neighborhood grocery store while taking classes at the Art Institute of Seattle. After he graduated, he could not find work in the commercial art field, so he took classes in automobile collisions repair and found a job in a local body shop. Later, Matt started painting signs. During this time, he went back to school to study digital art and computer graphics at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

Matt lives with his wife, their serial killer cat and a very sweet old dog in a Zen-like home surrounded by a peaceful stand of tall evergreen trees north of Seattle.

Samples of his work can be found at:

This project was funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

This material received Federal financial assistance for the preservation and interpretation of U.S. confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age in its federally funded assisted projects. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to:

Chief, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
1201 Eye Street, NW (2740)
Washington, DC 20005

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