The Glendale City Council approved designating the intersection of Isabel Street and Broadway as Sadao S. Munemori Memorial Square in honor of Glendale-born Sadao S. Munemori at its Sept. 19 meeting.
Munemori was a dedicated Army soldier that sacrificed his life in 1945 serving in World War II. The United States recognized Munemori’s heroic actions to save his fellow soldiers in Seravezza, Italy, allowing his company to successfully break the Gothic Line. Munemori was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1946, making him the only Japanese American to receive the Medal of Honor during the World War II era. Following this feat, 20 other Japanese American soldiers’ medals were upgraded to the Medal of Honor in June 2000.
A second-generation Japanese American (Nisei), Munemori was born and raised in Glendale. Kametaro Munemori, Sadao’s father, was committed to seeing his children further their education. Sadao was the fourth of five children, attended Fletcher Drive Elementary School just south of the Glendale border, and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1940. According to city archives, the Munemori family owned a vegetable farm near San Fernando Road and Glendale Avenue.
“As the first Medal of Honor recipient of Japanese American descent, Sadao Munemori not only demonstrated unwavering dedication to his country but also shattered stereotypes and discrimination prevailing at the time,” said Councilman Ardy Kassakhian. “Munemori’s remarkable valor on the battlefield during World War II inspires us all, uniting us in a shared appreciation for those who put the well-being of others above all else. I am glad that we are able to recognize our Glendale-born hero and pay homage to the service of our veterans.”
Mitchell Maki, president and CEO of Go For Broke, said he applauds the City Council’s unanimous approval of naming the intersection Sadao S. Munemori Square.
“The Council chose to recognize a heroic son of Glendale, a child of immigrants, and a selfless soldier who fought and died for his nation, his family, and generations of Americans whom he would never know,” Maki said.
Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone said Munemori’s legacy will live on through this tribute.
“Sadao S. Munemori Square will provide a lasting landmark of the Japanese American presence in Glendale and inspire all who pass through the intersection of the heroism and self-sacrifice of Mr. Munemori and the resilience and remarkable contributions of the entire Japanese American community,” Sone said. “The Government of Japan supports various initiatives aimed at strengthening the relationship between the Japanese American community and Japan. I hope the square naming will encourage Japanese people to visit Glendale and to understand the impact of Japanese Americans in various places, including in Glendale.”
The city of Glendale’s Veterans Memorial is located on the corner of Broadway and North Isabel Street by Glendale City Hall (613 E. Broadway), and Munemori’s name can be seen etched onto the World War II Memorial Wall, making the Council approval fitting. The city intends to install the signs deeming Sadao S. Munemori Memorial Square by the end of the year accompanied by a public unveiling. You can sign up to receive any of our various newsletters, press releases, agenda notifications and other news and event updates by visiting glendaleca.gov/residents/how-do-i/sign-up-for/newsletters-and-email-updates.
First published in the September 23 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.