JACS grant update and request for help

The Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program (Public Law 109-441) was established to preserve and interpret the United States confinement sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II (WWII). The grants have helped to educate the public about how and why those confinement sites were established. As we approach the end of […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: ‘By Order of the President’ turns 20

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of my book “By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans.” “By Order” was my first book. It introduced me to the public as a specialist in the history of Japanese American wartime confinement, and helped launch my career as both scholar […]

Graphic novel documents acts of resistance

WE HEREBY REFUSE: JAPANESE AMERICAN RESISTANCE TO WARTIME INCARCERATION By Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, illustrated by Ross Ishikawa  and Matt Sasaki (Seattle: Chin Music Press/ Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience,  2021, 160 pp., $19.95, paperback) The graphic novel, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” focuses on the real life experiences of Jim Akutsu, a Minidoka War Relocation Authority camp draft resister; Mitsuye Endo, a Topaz (Central Utah) WRA inmate who challenged the incarceration through a habeas corpus petition; and Hiroshi Kashiwagi, […]

Minding and mining the gaps of one family’s trauma

FORCED OUT: A NIKKEI WOMAN’S SEARCH FOR A HOME IN AMERICA By Judy Y. Kawamoto (Louisville, Colo.: University Press of Colorado, 2020, 202 pp., $29.95, hardcover) I immensely enjoyed and was greatly enlightened by Sansei psychotherapist Judy Kawamoto’s singular book. I would classify its genre as a meditative memoir. As she succinctly notes, “psychotherapy is […]

A digestible telling of familiar snippets of JA WWII history

FACING THE MOUNTAIN: A TRUE STORY OF JAPANESE AMERICAN HEROES IN WORLD WAR II By Daniel James Brown (New York: Viking Books, 2021, 560 pp., $30, hard cover)  Daniel James Brown’s “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” recounts the narrative of the Japanese American wartime experience by focusing on the individual histories of Gordon Hirabayashi, Katsugo “Kats” Miho, Fred Shiosaki and Rudy Tokiwa. Hirabayashi famously contested Executive Order 9066 in the courts, […]

Remembering the incarceration: 10th annual Films of Remembrance

The Nichi Bei Foundation held its 10th annual Films of Remembrance film series on the wartime incarceration of some 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. While this year’s program largely moved online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it also included a drive-in screening of “Farewell to Manzanar” at the West Wind […]

Film uncovers little-known story of music in camp by incarcerated Nikkei

“For Joy,” a film by Julian Saporiti and the No-No Boy project, tells the little-known story of a Nikkei teenager who sang with a jazz band formed in the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain, Wyo. The story also sheds light on a hidden history — the music played during […]

Japanese American concentration camp survivors call for closure of immigrant detention centers on 78th anniversary of wartime incarceration

Members of San Francisco’s Japanese American community on Feb. 7 spoke about their experiences being incarcerated in camps during World War II, while standing in solidarity with present-day immigrants being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. Speaking at the National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco’s Japantown to commemorate the incarceration of Japanese Americans in […]

WHEN ‘THEN’ MEETS ‘NOW’: Film examines bonds made in Crystal City camp, lessons for today

How is “now” — meaning the Trumpian era where government officials criminalize immigrants and asylum seekers from non-Aryan countries — connected to “then” — the World War II period when people of Japanese descent from the West Coast and Latin American countries were incarcerated in United States-style concentration camps? To find out, join three men […]

Gag Order Lifted!: Update on Tule Lake Litigation and Preservation

It has been over a year since the Tule Lake Committee filed a civil rights complaint in federal court to stop the sale of the Tulelake Municipal airstrip to an entity that vows to expand aviation activities on the site. This rural airstrip occupies two-thirds of the residential area of the Tule Lake concentration camp […]

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