Captain Asian American

Viewers with a keen eye might have pinpointed something peculiar about the Captain America: The First Avenger trailer broadcasted during Super Bowl XLV. One of the men escorting Captain America was of Asian descent.

The man is a character named Jim Morita of The Howling Commandos, an elite special unit in the Marvel Universe formed during World War II. Morita first appeared in “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #38” in January, 1967, and led his own separate division called “The Nisei Squadron.” Unlike the Howling Commandos, or even Captain America for that matter, the basis of the squadron isn’t steeped in fiction. It’s likely that the 442nd Regiment of World War II  served as the inspiration for Morita’s Nisei Squadron during its first inception. The 442nd Regiment was a segregated unit comprised mostly of Japanese Americans during World War II. They fought against the Axis in Europe while their relatives and families were interned during the relocation.

Kenneth Choi, the actor portraying Jim Morita, even stated himself in an interview that he researched the regiment and drew upon it to form a more factual basis for his character. We’re just glad that unlike a certain director, Marvel decided not to White Wash its own movie continuity.

Captain America: The First Avenger opens in theaters on July 22, 2011.

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