John Kaneshiro

John Kaneshiro

John Kaneshiro of the Vietnam War led his infantry squad through a daring ambush. By himself clearing a trench, he enabled his men to escape and regroup.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden honored four veterans with the Medal of Honor: two Sansei soldiers from Hawaii; Specialist 5 Dwight Birdwell and Hawaiian veteran Dennis Fujii were also recognized.

Early Life and Education

Kaneshiro was raised in Honolulu as the son of Japanese immigrants. At age four months, he enlisted in the Army – four months before Hawaii became a state – and dedicated his service to serving his nation.

On a mission in Kim Son Valley, Vietnam in December 1966, Kaneshiro’s unit came under fire and he crawled forward to attack using six grenades and an M16 rifle. This act of heroism saved lives and prevented a potential disaster for Army forces.

After decades of letters and calls, President Joe Biden finally presented Kaneshiro with the Medal of Honor for his valor. Kaneshiro’s daughter Viloria expressed her joy at receiving the award: “This award brought tears to my eyes.”

Professional Career

John Kaneshiro has earned recognition as an actor by appearing in multiple movies across different countries. His acting credits include Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese roles; additionally, he collaborated with renowned auteur Wong Kar-wai on several projects.

His transnational image has enabled him to expand his career and earn critical acclaim, but it can also prove challenging. In each country where he performs, critics have voiced opposition to his transnationality.

He has had to contend with the perception that he is ethnically mysterious and of limited appeal in Asian countries. Furthermore, each East Asian nation has its own nationality and culture, complicating matters further.

Achievements and Honors

Kaneshiro earned numerous accolades for his bravery during the Vietnam War. He was awarded with the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during a 1966 ambush.

He and his men were ambushed inside a village in Kim Son Valley, Vietnam. He crawled forward to fight off the enemy with six grenades and an M16 rifle.

His brave actions saved the lives of U.S. Soldiers and enabled the next mission of Army forces to be successful.

At a ceremony on Tuesday, President Obama presented Kaneshiro with his posthumous Medal of Honor and also presented it to three other military veterans for their valiant service in battle.

Kaneshiro’s family was delighted to learn of his selection for the nation’s highest military award. His daughter Naomi Viloria said growing up without a father was difficult, but she is immensely proud of her dad’s bravery and resolve during combat in Vietnam.

Personal Life

Kaneshiro was born to Japanese immigrants in Honolulu and raised on his family’s farm. He attended Leilehua High School before becoming a proud father and husband until his passing on March 6, 1967.

Kaneshiro served in Vietnam as an infantry squad leader from 1966-68 and during a search-and-destroy mission near Phu Huu 2 in Kim Son Valley, Vietnam, came under enemy fire. Using six hand grenades and his M16 rifle, he cleared an enemy trench by himself, allowing two other squads to escape and regroup.

On July 5, 2022, President Joe Biden posthumously awarded Kaneshiro the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Vietnam War. He was one of four soldiers to receive this honor: Spc. Five Dwight Birdwell, Specialist Five Dennis Fujii and Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro were also recognized by the White House.

Net Worth

Takeshi Kaneshiro is a Japanese-Taiwanese actor who has collaborated with some of East Asia’s renowned directors, such as Wong Kar Wai (Chungking Express and Fallen Angels), Peter Chan (Perhaps Love and Wuxia), Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) and John Woo (Red Cliff and The Crossing I and II).

In addition to acting, he has gained notoriety in the video game industry for his portrayal of Samanosuke Akechi in Capcom’s Onimusha series. With an estimated net worth of $20 million, he continues to make waves around the world.

Kaneshiro’s net worth reached a new high in 2018, when he was named as Honolulu’s top elected prosecutor. Since then, his involvement with the City and County of Honolulu’s $5.5 million purchase of an apartment complex from Marcia Walden — a businesswoman and political donor — has come under scrutiny.

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