MOILIILI (KHNL) - They're a generation that has endured a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
They're called the Nisei, or second generation of Japanese Americans in Hawaii.
"They lived in a special time, the war time generation and they went through a lot of hardship," said Brian Y. Sato, photographer.
He spent nearly 5 years traveling the state, taking pictures of them.
"I asked them, not to dress up, not to get overly made up or anything because I wanted to photograph them as they were," said Sato.
His pictures are featured at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in an exhibit called "Gokurosama", which means thank you with much appreciation. Sato is sending this message to people, like Waikiki surfer Tom Nekota and Oahu couple Joel and Frances Fujita.
"I see them as a source, pretty much a disappearing source of knowledge," said Sato.
He said they serve as role models for the younger generation.
"They have to be more shimbo. You know what shimbo is? Shimbo is resilient," said Betty Masako Odo, an 89-year-old Hauula, Oahu resident who is pictured at the exhibit.
Sato hopes this exhibit will teach everyone to respect and appreciate this generation, before it's too late.