Lane Nakano

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Lane Nakano
Tsutomo Nakano

(1925-03-16)March 16, 1925
DiedApril 28, 2005(2005-04-28) (aged 80)
Spouse(s)Fumi Nakano
ChildrenDean Nakano
Desmond Nakano

Tsutomo Nakano (March 16, 1925 – April 28, 2005), also known as Lane Nakano, was a former American combat soldier turned actor.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Nakano's family "adopted" legendary Marine Corps combat interpreter Guy Gabaldon at age 12. Gabaldon was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions on Saipan and Tinian islands during World War II which included saving the lives of many Japanese civilians on the two islands.[2]

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Nakano and his family[3] were interned at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming.[4] While there, he volunteered for service in the U.S. Army. Nakano and his brother were assigned to the legendary and much decorated, 442nd Regimental Combat Team.[1]


Nakano's opportunity to work as an actor began when he was discovered after the war by Hollywood director and writer Robert Pirosh. Pirosh cast Nakano as second billing after American actor Van Johnson in the 1951 war film about the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II, Go for Broke.[5]


After World War II, Nakano was known as a singer in Los Angeles' Japanese-American community.[3]

Later years[edit]

After he left acting, Nakano became vice president of the import-export firm Magna Industries, Inc., of Los Angeles.[6] For years, he also was involved in businesses related to greenhouses and aluminum siding.[3]


On April 28, 2005, Nakano died in a hospital in Sherman Oaks, California, after having had emphysema. He was 80 years old.[3]


Nakano's son, Desmond, wrote and produced the 2007 film American Pastime using Lane's experiences in internment camp as one source of historical information and naming the two lead characters Lyle and Lane. While the lead character is Lyle, Lane, the older of the two brothers, comes back from the 442nd missing a leg, and becomes the focal character in the final scene. [7]



  1. ^ a b c "Lane Nakano, 80, a Soldier Turned Actor, Is Dead", The New York Times, May 11, 2005
  2. ^ Varzally, Allison (2008). Making a Non-White America. Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-0-520-25344-5.
  3. ^ a b c d McLellan, Dennis (May 10, 2005). "Lane Nakano, 80; Prominent Japanese American Singer and Actor in Film 'Go for Broke'". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. 22. Retrieved August 7, 2018 – via open access
  4. ^ "National Archives: Lane Nakano". Retrieved 2011-06-26.
  5. ^ a b Yenne, Bill. (2007). Rising Sons: The Japanese American GIs Who Fought for the United States in World War II, 253., p. 253, at Google Books
  6. ^ Chun, Ella (November 18, 1956). "Visiting Business Man Is Also Top Movie, TV Actor". The Honolulu Advertiser. Hawaii, Honolulu. p. 13. Retrieved August 7, 2018 – via open access
  7. ^


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