Nobuo Matsubara still remembers the visit to his home by a naval officer in January 1942. The officer told the family that Nobuo’s older brother, Kazuo, had been killed fighting for Japan in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It wasn’t true. But the truth was even worse, under the values of the time. Kazuo had been captured in Hawaii—the first Japanese serviceman taken prisoner by the Americans. To neighbors and other navy men, it was shameful. To the government, it was impossible: Gen. Hideki Tojo’s military code ordered his men to fight to the death.