Biography of Shizuya Hayashi
Shizuya Hayashi was born in Puuiki, Hawaii. As a child, he worked on the Waialua Sugar Plantation until he was 22 and began buying and selling motorcycles. In 1941, Hayashi was drafted into the Army and was placed with the 65th Engineers division. They soon became known as the 100th Infantry Battalion. During his military career, Hayashi was faced with many near-direct injuries. He would often feel the whiz of the bullets go past him. Once, a grenade was thrown at him, but did not explode on impact, saving his life. There was one battle where he killed many Germans before suddenly aiming his gun at another soldier. He soon realized that the soldier was a child and felt pity and compassion for him. He decided that he could not kill the child and took him prisoner instead. In 2000, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in a battle on November 29, 1943. During the battle, he took over an enemy machine gun tower, killing 7 in the tower and 2 more trying to escape. An enemy attack opened fire on the troops and Hayashi returned fire. He killed 9, took 4 prisoners, and forced the enemies to retreat. He continued to fight in battle until trench foot sent him home from the war. He found work at a construction company where he operated a crane. In 1947, Hayashi married Mavis Tomeno Imamura. Throughout all of his life, Hayashi never tried to call attention to himself. He was known to help everyone he could in any way possible.
Shizuya Hayashi in The Book Thief
To me, Shizuya Hayashi reminds me of Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief. He was a very caring person the wouldn't even hurt a fly. When Liesel started having nightmares, Hans would feel bad for her and comfort her. Similarly, Hayashi showed compassion to almost everyone. He saved a boy's life in battle by not shooting him. They both cared about the people around them, even when they went to war. Hans and Hayashi were both very humble. They did not like to draw attention to themselves. Hans was always down to earth and was respectful to all those above him. Hayashi also was very humble. He would go around speaking about the 100th Infantry Battalion, but often did not talk about his own experiences. Both Hans Hubermann and Shizuya Hayashi lived humble lives and helped all people, regardless of who they were.
Salute to Shizuya Hayashi. Puka Puka Parades, May 2008. http://www.100thbattalion.org/archives/puka-puka-parades/veterans/medal-of-honor-awardees/salute-to-shizuya-hayashi/