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Group needs money for WWII monument

Placer County Japanese American Citizens league recently earned $14,625 grant
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A bronze monument to World War II soldiers got a boost June 1 when the Roseville City Council announced grant awards, including one for $14,625 to the Placer County Japanese American Citizens League.

But the organization still needs more money for the project.

The group will complete the large monument to be installed at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville later this year. This sculpture will honor northern California citizens of Japanese ancestry who fought in the war and acknowledge local residents interned during that period.

The Japanese American Citizens League is one of 45 local nonprofit organizations receiving a Citizen’s Benefit Fund grant, totaling $499,655.

The monument project, a public-private partnership between the league and Placer County, will provide a permanent marker for future generations to understand the local significance of World War II.

In 2009, the county dedicated a landscaped memorial at the site to honor the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit made up of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The 442nd is the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in U.S. military history. More than 100 men from Placer County served in the 442nd and the 100th battalion, which merged with the unit during the war.

Many of these men, along with their families, also endured the hardships of internment and relocation camps.

Auburn businessman E. Ken Tokutomi has led the fundraising effort to build the monument, generating more than $110,000. But the group needs another $50,000. The organization hopes to dedicate this monument while local surviving 442nd veterans, Shig Yokote and Frank Kageta, are still around to be honored.

“Many of those who were interned from northern California later fought heroically in Europe and the Pacific and must be remembered,” Tokutomi said, in a press release. “We owe these men our gratitude.”

To donate to this project, visit www.placerjacl.org or call E. Ken Tokutomi at (530) 888-1303.

~ Sena Christian