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Talk Story with Shane Sato

Over 18 years in the making, photographer Shane Sato has been shooting moving portraits of Nisei soldiers to create a one of a kind coffee table book. Poignant images of men who fought for America while America put their families and loved ones in prison. This 184-page 12x12 hardcover book contains portraits of over 80 Japanese American WWII veterans.  His book unveils 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 is accompanied by candid photos and a short story—usually a personal one, whenever possible.  Without writing a history book, Sato “talks story” to share the lives of the Nisei to future generations so that their accomplishments and history are not forgotten. This portrait book is not just a glimpse into Japanese American history, but a triumphant story of American history.

Shane Sato, Photographer and Co-Author

Shane Sato has spent most of his career working in publicity and advertising in the United States and in Asia. He has worked in many aspects in the Asian-American community, photographing for movies, magazines, and events for over 30 years. Being born a Sansei (3rd generation) to Nisei (2nd generation) parents from Hawaii and the mainland has given him a unique perspective to his Japanese-American WWII Veteran portrait series. He continues to work in his Los Angeles Arts District studio.

Shane’s book of Japanese American Nisei WWII Veteran portraits is titled, “The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage.” He is currently wrapping up photography on the 2nd volume of the book. (  

Robert M. Horsting, Co-Author, Oral Historian, and Researcher

Robert has worked with Shane over the past three-plus years as his camera assistant, oral historian, and co-writer in the successful effort to produce this first book, and looks forward to sharing more of the Nisei veteran’s legacy in the upcoming 2nd volume.

Robert is also an Emmy, Edward R. Murrow and RTDNA Unity awarded producer (“Witness American Heroes" Aka: “Unknown Warriors”) and documentary filmmaker.  He has been a volunteer with the Go For Broke National Education Center's Hanashi Oral History Program ( since 2001 and has helped to record nearly 250 Japanese American WWII and Korean War veteran stories from across the USA.  

"The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage.” 

This photographic coffee table book has been taking shape with the first personal portraits of Nisei (2nd generation Japanese American) WWII veterans that Shane captured in 2000 through 2017.  His attention to lighting and his ability to create a relaxed environment for each veteran are evident in the personality that comes out of the portraits, so don’t be surprised if you reflect the emotions you see and discover that a picture really can touch your soul.  You’ll also find a personal story of the veteran’s experience and personal candid photos of the young men that went to fight for our country.  This volume contains 81 portraits and stories.

Time & Date:

October 27th, 2018 at 1:00pm


(408) 294-3138

Event Cost:

Free with admission to the museum
Adults: $8
Seniors 65+ and students with valid ID: $5
JAMsj Members and children (12 and Under): Free


Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 N. 5th Street
San Jose, CA  95112