Written by Koji Steven Sakai & Phinneas Kiyomura
In 2015, Stela (an online graphic novel company) approached Koji Steven Sakai to develop a new idea for their platform. Koji pitched them a few concepts and they instantly fell in love with the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most highly decorated American fighting force for its size and duration. Koji brought on co-writer Phinneas Kiyomura and together they developed the script. Stela then hired Rob Sato to illustrate it. The following year (2016), "442" was released on the Stela platform.
In July 2018, the "442" team received a generous grant from the California State Library Foundation to print out "442" in book form as well as provide free copies to educators, schools, libraries, museums, and students.
Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO, the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I've Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a television series featuring the nation's top Asian American comedians, that will be streaming on Hulu in August 2018. Koji's debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting and digital media arts at International Technological University in San Jose.
Phinny Kiyomura, a Los Angeles native, Phinneas Kiyomura graduated from California State Fullerton with a BFA in theatre and creative writing and quickly became a firmly entrenched member of Los Angeles' theatre scene. He currently calls L.A.'s own, multi-award-winning, punk-rock Theatre of NOTE home (twelve recent mainstage productions), which LA Weekly named as one of the city's best comedy ensembles. Kiyomura's acting credits include the award- winning Yellow Flesh Alabaster Rose, Boiler Room , and A Mulholland Christmas Carol. In 2000, not long after graduating, Kiyomura and his co-writer were awarded 3rd place in Clasky Csupo's TV Writing Contest. He spent the next year developing Shooting Blanks, a feature-length film he wrote, directed and co-starred in with Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds). Kiyomura then returned to the Theater of NOTE, writing and acting in multiple productions, culminating in the highly acclaimed production of his play Lydia in Bed (the basis of Beds and Graves), which Variety called "an impressively original voice." Lydia garnered two LA Weekly nominations and requests from such prestigious theatres as 2nd Stage NY , Manhattan Theatre Club, and Vulcan Productions (producers of the incendiary Sundance fave, Hard Candy).
Rob Sato, a Los Angeles-based artist Rob Sato creates a sense of twisted nostalgia in viewers with his grotesque yet quietly beautiful watercolor paintings. In them, Sato intertwines the mechanical and organic elements that characterize his stark images of decay. These scenes-along with their historical influences-explore how old technology remains buried in the collective consciousness long after the objects themselves are gone. In 2005, Sato self-published his graphic novel, Burying Sandwiches, with the help of a Xeric Grant. Since then, he has continued to work and exhibit across the country, most recently in a two person show at Giant Robot 2 in Los Angeles.
"442" was originally published on Stela Unlimited app (Available on iOS and Android)
Special thanks to California State Library Foundation, Eric Nakamura,
Giant Robot, Go For Broke National Education Center, Japanese American National
Museum, Visual Communications