Jack Shirai, (Japanese-American Volunteer, Killed at Villanueva de la Cañada –July 1937) By Ludwig D.

November 30, 2018
Jack Shirai in Spain

Jack Shirai in Spain












Jack Shirai, (Japanese-American Volunteer, killed at Villanueva de la Cañada –July 1937) By Ludwig D.

The Volunteer for Liberty, V.1, No. 17, October 4, 1937.


I hear that Comrade Shirai fell.

Who did not know him?

His funny pidgin English,

His smiling eyes,

And his brave heart,

Made him loved as a brother

In the Abraham Lincoln Battalion,

Jack Shirai of Hakodate,

Son of Japanese earth.

He went to America

Because at home there was no bread;

Became a cook in Frisco.

His art tickled the palates

Of the richest playboys of the city.

In the summer of nineteen hundred thirty-six,

As the newspaper wrote,

In Europe, in Spain,

The Fascist wolf had come out to murder.

Jack Shirai packed his few things

And was among the first

To come from America

Helping the Spanish people in their fight

For human rights.

When the bullets whistled

And the tearing shells burst,

Then the boys of the Lincoln Battalion

Watched Jack Shirai.

He had a laughing heart!

Once (in June on the Jarama)

He was sent as a cook

Behind the lines to a hospital.

They liked him there –the sick,

The wounded, everybody.

And the village farmers talked often

Of the Japanese who had come so far for them.

Bout one day he ran away,

Back to the lines—to the front.

In the North, when we cracked

The ring around Madrid,

He was there as we stormed Brunete,

And Villanueva de la Cañada.

As the night was bright

With the shine of the burning towns,

Torn by exploding bombs

And the voices of the great guns,

Jack Shirai fell.

The Abraham Lincoln Battalion

Of the People’s Army of Freedom,

And the Japanese proletariat,

Will not forget him.



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