National Park Service to award $2.9 million in JA Confinement Site grants

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service will award 24 grants that total $2.9 million to preserve and interpret sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II. This year — the grant program’s third — the awards will provide $2.9 million to projects in 11 states, Secretary of the Interior […]

Call for artwork and stories from WWII camps

About five years ago I met Mrs. Rosalie Gould, the former mayor of McGehee, Ark. and a strong advocate for teaching and visiting the Japanese American concentration camps in her community. Mrs. Gould told me she had a collection of children’s artworks in her spare room and welcomed me to see them. I was absolutely […]

Korematsu and Hirabayashi families, legal teams react to ‘confession of error’

The families and legal teams of Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi, two civil rights icons, reacted to the news that the U.S. Department of Justice has finally admitted its mistakes in the cases challenging the government’s World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. The “confession of error,” posted by then-acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on […]

Etsu Mineta Masaoka dies

Etsu Mineta Masaoka, a longtime member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and widow of one of the organization’s leading icons, passed away in Maryland. Born May 14, 1916, she was 95. Mineta attended most of the National JACL Conventions during the past 60 years. She was the sister of Norman Mineta, whose political […]

THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Multiracial pacifist and activist, Yone Stafford

One of the more pleasant aspects of doing “The Great Unknown” is the responses that I get to my columns from readers, including friends and family members of the people whom I write about. They not only offer praise but provide additional information and inspire further work. Not long ago I did a column about […]

A HIDDEN ACHIEVEMENT: Margaret Masuoka’s education interrupted

Margaret Masuoka was meant to graduate with a degree in botany from Santa Ana College in 1942. Masuoka, 89, studied the subject until she was ordered to the Poston, Ariz. concentration camp. The Nikkei was set to graduate that June. Masuoka received a letter from her favorite professor, J. Russell Bruff, telling her to meet […]

A student’s perspective on her first pilgrimage to Manzanar

When I heard about the Manzanar Pilgrimage, I immediately perked up from my seat in Professor Wayne Maeda’s “Intro to Ethnics” class. I knew that I had to go on this trip as soon as possible because my grandparents were incarcerated in such concentration camps during World War II. I was nervous when I arrived […]

Desperately seeking LGBT memories of World War II incarceration

Two years ago, I was invited to participate in E.G. Crichton’s project “Lineage: Matchmaking in the Archive” in which artists, writers and musicians were asked to respond to personal collections in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society archive. I was “matched” with Jiro Onuma, a gay Issei who moved to the U.S. from Iwate […]

Muslim, Japanese American youth empowered by history

LOS ANGELES — “Have you ever been called a racist name?” Mustafah Hawari, 17, asks Yuka Ogino, 23, a Japanese American coordinator at the Bridging Communities Program. “Yes, I have,” she tells Hawari and the small group of students sitting on the floor at a mosque in Anaheim, Calif. The students, most of them Muslim […]

‘Snow Falling on Cedars’ skillfully explores wartime prejudice

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The Japanese American concentration camps of World War II provide a compelling backdrop for the excellent theatrical production of “Snow Falling on Cedars.” Based on David Guterson’s 1994 best-selling novel, the play offers a potent mix of romance and whodunit, as well as an exploration of the issue of prejudice against […]

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