- The Go for Broke Spirit
March 4, 2021
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Go for Broke Spirit
Over 20 years in the making, photographer Shane Sato has been shooting moving portraits of Japanese American Nisei soldiers to create a one of a kind coffee table book. Poignant images of men who fought for America while that same country put their families and loved ones in prison. In his two sister photo books, “The Go For Broke Spirit” Portraits of Courage and Portraits of Legacy, allows the viewer a glimpse into the lives of these men—what it might have been like to be fighting for a country that imprisoned their family and friends, the racism they endured for looking like the enemy, and their ultimate triumph.
Join Shane Sato online as he shares these emotional photographs and stories, to honor and share the lives of the Nisei, so that their accomplishments and history are not forgotten!
These images unveil the wide range of feelings the Japanese Americans must have experienced after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sato artistically captures these men’s emotions—expressively photographed in a way not many have seen. His ability to bring out personality in what are usually stoic subjects is touching. The story of the Nisei is inspiring… and each portrait whenever possible is accompanied by their candid photos and personal narrative.
This portrait book is not just a glimpse into Japanese American history, but a triumphant story of American history.
Shane Sato Biography
Shane Sato has been photographing Japanese American Nisei veterans for the past 20 years. They were the 100th /442nd the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in U.S. Army history, and as members of the MIS. This portrait series explores his heritage and the remarkable stories that few have ever heard about. Sato started this project because he wanted to photograph these men in an artistic way and share the stories that needed to be remembered for the next generation.
The Nisei almost universally never talked about their war experiences, so Sato felt it was necessary to share what they could not. Sato want to be able to capture their “Go For Broke Spirit”, and photograph the emotions and create a voice that they rarely expressed themselves. Shane Sato uses portraits to allow the viewer a glimpse into the lives of these men – what it might have been like fighting for a country that imprisoned their family and friends, the racism they endured for looking like the enemy, and their ultimate triumph. Sato wanted these portraits to show courage, patriotism, and strength —not the way Asian men are often portrayed in America.
The images are printed with contrast for a feeling of mystery and bravery, but Sato also desaturated the colors for a more somber mood. The portraits represent the resilience of the Nisei, whether they were fighting on the battlefield or imprisoned in the camps, the inner fortitude or “Gaman” they showed was stronger than steel. Shane Satos’ goal is for people to feel inspired by the triumphs of the Nisei, and also show the complex range of emotions these men must have felt fighting for this country . . . a country that did not fight for them.