New Book Details Real-Life Story of Japanese-American Brothers Who Served in World War II while Family Forced into Internment Camp

ARLINGTON, Virginia, May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The newly released non-fiction book, "When the Akimotos Went to War: An Untold Story of Family, Patriotism and Sacrifice during World War II," captures the story of three Japanese-American brothers--Victor, Johnny, and Ted Akimoto--who volunteered for military service while their family members were forced into an internment camp. Despite the nation-wide fear of the Nisei--the first generation of Japanese children born in the United States who were American citizens--the Akimoto brothers pledged their loyalty and bravery to the U.S. military, wanting to prove that being an American ran deeper than race.

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Through the use of photographs, letters, and original documents, the voices of these three brothers are heard throughout the book. "One of the things we agreed on was neither of us had the slightest fear of death and so if it was God's will that we should give our lives to our country, we wanted you folks to be proud and not mourn; for this is the greatest cause a man can give his life for, as we are fighting on the side of God," wrote Victor in a letter to his parents about a conversation between himself and Johnny. From stateside training to fighting in Europe, the Akimoto brothers served proudly, hoping to help change public perception of Japanese Americans. But ultimately, not all of the brothers return after the war, proving that bullets and disease do not discriminate.

Author Matthew Elms, a middle school teacher, wrote this book as part of the Understanding Sacrifice [] teacher education program created by the American Battle Monuments Commission, National History Day® and by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

"When the Akimoto's Went to War peels back the pages of history and allows the reader an insight into the human side of war, told through a single family," said Elms. "The Akimoto family has lessons to teach all of us about life and death."

Through his research, Elms uncovered pieces of the Akimoto story that had never been known by the family--including details of Victor's time in a German prisoner of war camp.

This book is available for sale through the Government Printing Office [], or a free PDF copy of the book [] can be downloaded from

Media Contact: Sarah Herrmann 703-696-6896 or []

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