Ai Love Japan: Ongoing Recovery and Relief Efforts in Northeastern Japan

Darrell Miho is a professional photographer and writer from Southern California. Darrell and  fellow photographer, Ken Matsui,   founded Ai Love Japan, an organization that documents survivor stories and provides direct aid to the people most affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan.  He will be at JAMsj on February 3, 2013 and will talk about his organization and the current situation within the disaster zone. In this article, he recounts how he got involved in relief efforts.

June 13, 2011; Kesennuma, Miyagi Pref., Japan - Fishing boats lie scattered like toys on dry land a quarter-mile from the ocean after a tsunami carried them inland after the March 11, 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the Northeast coast of Japan. Photo courtesy of Darrell Miho and Ai Love Japan.

June 13, 2011; Kesennuma, Miyagi Pref., Japan – Fishing boats lie scattered like toys on dry land a quarter-mile from the ocean after a tsunami carried them inland after the March 11, 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the Northeast coast of Japan. Photo courtesy of Darrell Miho and Ai Love Japan.

By Darrell Miho

When the March 11 disasters struck Japan, I was literally on the other side of the world in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I couldn’t believe the video footage I was watching on TV. I knew this was bad and my immediate instinct was to go take pictures.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in Sao Paulo recuperating from emergency retina reattachment surgery and was unable to travel until my eye was healed. Stuck in a foreign country without many resources, I felt helpless not being able to do anything.

On April 1, I was finally able to travel home to Los Angeles where I jumped on board to help some of my friends organize a benefit concert featuring Hiroshima and Quest Crew.

Still feeling that I could do more, I planned a trip to Japan in May to work on a personal project documenting atomic bomb survivors. Once I was finished doing the interviews in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the plan was to head north to the Tohoku region to document the damage and see how we could help.

May 16, 2011; Watari, Miyagi Pref., Japan - The Shishido family rummages through what is left of their house, looking to salvage what they can after the March 11, 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the Northeast coast of Japan.They have been coming to their house almost everyday, but this was the last day they can take anything out as their house was scheduled for demolition the next day

May 16, 2011; Watari, Miyagi Pref., Japan – The Shishido family rummages through what is left of their house, looking to salvage what they can after the March 11, 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the Northeast coast of Japan.
They have been coming to their house almost everyday, but this was the last day they can take anything out as their house was scheduled for demolition the next day. Photo courtesy of Ai Love Japan.

After visiting the devastated areas and talking to the local people, it was clear that more help was needed. Clearly, this disaster was unprecedented and the government was overwhelmed and unable to meet all the needs that people had.

Since the March 11 disasters, I have now been to Japan 5 times and to the Tohoku area 8 times and I can say without a doubt, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Optimistic projections estimate that it will take ten years to rebuild the devastated areas. I think it will take longer. The added reality is that some places may never be rebuilt.

May 18, 2011; Minamisanriku, Miyagi Pref., Japan - Jun Suzuki shows how high the water rose inside a room at the Tokubetsu Yogo Homu Jikeien, a special nursing care home for the elderly, where he, his mother and an elderly resident were caught in the tsunami floodwaters in Minamisanriku during the magnitude 9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011.They all survived when the waters receded after peaking only one foot (30 cm) from the ceiling inside the nursing home. Two months after the disaster, you can still see the water line just a foot (30 cm) below the ceiling. Photo courtesy of Darrell Miho and Ai Love Japan.

May 18, 2011; Minamisanriku, Miyagi Pref., Japan – Jun Suzuki shows how high the water rose inside a room at the Tokubetsu Yogo Homu Jikeien, a special nursing care home for the elderly, where he, his mother and an elderly resident were caught in the tsunami floodwaters in Minamisanriku during the magnitude 9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011.
They all survived when the waters receded after peaking only one foot (30 cm) from the ceiling inside the nursing home. Two months after the disaster, you can still see the water line just a foot (30 cm) below the ceiling. Photo courtesy of Darrell Miho and Ai Love Japan.

Seeing the devastated areas in person will change anyone’s preconception of the disaster. Being in the midst of all the destruction and then seeing it repeated in town after town is something that I can’t put into words. The enormity and the scale is just mind-boggling. So I want to encourage people to go visit or volunteer so they can see it first hand and contribute to the recovery.

When we asked one of the survivors what she wanted, she simply said to come visit. The last thing the evacuees want is to be forgotten. So I will do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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 A native of Southern California, Darrell Miho is a professional photographer and writer specializing in people, sports, travel and special events. His work has been published in such notable publications as Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest and The New York Times. Miho extends his love for taking pictures to the community by donating his services to worthy causes. It is this inner desire to help others that motivates him to pursue personal projects that will help make this world a better place.

He is currently working on two personal projects documenting atomic bomb survivor stories and earthquake and tsunami survivor stories:

Apr. 07, 2011; Hiroshima, Japan - Ernest Arai holds up a photo of the t-shirt he was wearing when the bomb detonated. The t-shirt is now part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum's permanent archives.Project Hibakusha : Hope for Peace

Apr. 07, 2011; Hiroshima, Japan – Ernest Arai holds up a photo of the t-shirt he was wearing when the bomb detonated. The t-shirt is now part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum’s permanent archives.
Project Hibakusha : Hope for Peace

Project Hibakusha : Hope for Peace will create a traveling exhibit of portraits and multimedia presentations to promote world peace by educating future generations about the devastating effects that nuclear weapons have on people’s lives and to spread the hibakusha’s message – their hope for peace.  Interviews and photographs are being conducted in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Canada and the United States.  http://projecthibakusha.blogspot.com


 

August. 2011, Kesennuma, Miyagi Pref., JPN - A student holds a pair of new rubber slippers donated by Locals Slippers and the people of Kauai. Locals Slippers were delivered to the Kesennuma Shiritsu Shishiori Shogakko (Shishiori Elementary School).

August. 2011, Kesennuma, Miyagi Pref., JPN – A student holds a pair of new rubber slippers donated by Locals Slippers and the people of Kauai. Locals Slippers were delivered to the Kesennuma Shiritsu Shishiori Shogakko (Shishiori Elementary School).

Ai Love Japan: The earthquake and tsunami survivor stories are being used to raise more public awareness about how people were affected and what they are doing to rebuild their lives. The goal is to keep people aware of the current situation in the disaster area in hopes of encouraging more volunteers to go help and to raising more money to help the people in the hardest hit areas in the Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.  http://ailovejapan.org

In addition to the links above, you can see more of his photos and read more about his work by visiting the websites listed below:

http://www.darrellmiho.com

http://www.theeyescreamfactory.com

http://darrellmiho.blogspot.com

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A Remembrance of Senator Daniel Inouye

In the wake of the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye, we heard or read a groundswell of memories about his persona, as well as his many contributions to the Japanese American community and to the country. The following remembrance of Senator Inouye was written by JAMsj volunteer, Sandra Komo Gauvreau, on December 17, 2012, the day of Senator Inouye’s passing. The power of role modeling is exemplified in Komo’s reflections. As busy adults, we often forget how impressionable our words and actions are to those who learn from us. Thank you, Komo, for sharing this heart-felt memoir.

A Remembrance of Senator Daniel Inouye

By Sandra Komo Gauvreau

Senator Daniel Inouye1924-2012

Senator Daniel Inouye
1924-2012

You probably already know this … but I just found out that my senator (Daniel Inouye) passed away today.

I’m so sad. He was a hero that most kids in Hawaii, especially JA kids, grow up respecting and admiring. Not a year of my childhood went by without at least one kid presenting a report on his life. Inouye was a senator for almost 50 years. How many politicians can say that they were able to hold the faith of their constituency for so long? I remember his campaign bumper stickers from back when I was a teenager. They just said “Dan” and everyone knew which Dan it was. It didn’t matter if Akaka or any other Dan was running in that election — we knew that “Dan” could only be Daniel Inouye.

Dan Inouye was President pro tempore.  This meant that if anything happened to the president, he would have been third in the line of succession (behind the Vice President and the House speaker).  He recently commented on how things had changed since WWII. To imagine going from being thought of as an enemy alien to being constantly escorted by security agents because he was now third in line for the presidency — he was amazed.

With the recent election, I found myself thinking about and appreciating him often. We are so fortunate to have so many JA politicians who represent our people with so much integrity. I can’t help but think that our history has something to do with that. Daniel Inouye was a hero and he lived up to that throughout his long life. I never doubted any decision or action by my senator, because I knew with certainty that he was a man of integrity. He fought for and accomplished so much for us — the people of Hawaii, the Japanese American community and, in fact, we the entire nation. Everything he did was with our best interests at heart.

I’m so sad to know that he’s gone. I’m a little teary eyed … but I don’t know if it’s sadness or sheer appreciation. I have a lot of love for my senator.

 

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2013 San Jose Day of Remembrance: The Changing Face of America

2013 San Jose Day of Remembrance: The Changing Face of America

2013 San Jose Day of Remembrance: The Changing Face of America

By Will Kaku

The 2013 San Jose Day of Remembrance commemorates the signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.  The event will also recognize the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. This landmark legislation stated that “a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II.”

To many of us in the Japanese American community, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 demonstrated that America can be a great nation.  America can look back in painful introspection and admit our past wrongs. But because our families and our community have been the recipients of the government’s apology and redress, many of us also believe that we bear a special responsibility to uphold the lessons learned from Executive Order 9066.

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 stated that the government’s actions “were motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” The reference to “prejudice” strikes a special chord with many Japanese Americans, leading us to believe that we must not be silent when we see our neighbors, friends, classmates, colleagues, and various communities become the targets of discrimination and violence. The 2013 San Jose Day of Remembrance program reflects this belief.

Day of Remembrance candlelighting ceremony

Day of Remembrance candlelight ceremony honors internees, war veterans, and people who were displaced by EO 9066

The 2013 Day of Remembrance program, The Changing Face of America, acknowledges the changing composition of America. Many political observers have stated that the 2012 election results demonstrated a dramatic shift in the demographics of the country, citing the increasing influence of particular groups, such as Latinos, Asian Americans, African Americans, women, and younger Americans. The election also revealed some progressive gains in LGBT equality, the great civil rights struggle of this decade.

Accompanying this dramatic demographic and attitudinal shift is an increased risk of backlash, intolerance, ignorance, xenophobia, and violence.  Some vocal segments of society have challenged or do not accept President Barack Obama’s American origins and his Christian faith; the Muslim American community has been under special scrutiny since the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and some groups, like the Sikh community, have been the target of violent hate crimes.

Photo by Ernie Mastroianni, Courtesy of the Sikh Coalition

Candlelight vigil after the Oak Creek massacre. Photo by Ernie Mastroianni. Courtesy of the Sikh Coalition

The Department of Justice has stated that it has “investigated over 800 incidents since 9/11 involving violence, threats, vandalism and arson against Arab-Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, South-Asian Americans and other individuals perceived to be of Middle Eastern origin.”1

For the first time in San Jose Day of Remembrance history, a representative from the Sikh community, Simran Kaur, the advocacy director of the Sikh Coalition, will speak at the annual event.  The Sikh community has been a target of violence in the post-9/11 world, including the recent temple massacre in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; the 2011 double murder in Elk Grove, California; and the 2006 attempted murder in Santa Clara, California.2

San Jose Day of Remembrance brings multiple communities together to build trust, respect, and understanding. Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer.

The San Jose Day of Remembrance brings multiple communities together to build trust, respect, and understanding. Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer.

Other featured speakers will be Molly Kitajima, a Japanese Canadian who was incarcerated by the Canadian government during World War II; Congressman Mike Honda; and Sara Jaka from the South Bay Islamic Association. The program also includes a performance from internationally acclaimed  San Jose Taiko, a candle-lighting ceremony and remembrance, and the traditional candlelight procession through historic Japantown. The Japanese American Museum of San Jose will also have a special exhibit on display at the event. For more information, email info@sjnoc.org or visit www.sjnoc.org.

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The Day of Remembrance is an event that aims to bring different communities together in order to build trust, respect, and understanding among all people and to renew our pledge to fight for equality, justice, and peace. Please plan on attending to help us all remember what happened and ensure that such injustices never occur again.

sikhcoalition.poster.tbThe Sikh Coalition was born in the aftermath of bigotry, violence and discrimination against the Sikh population following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. In particular, the organization works towards a world where Sikhs may freely practice and enjoy their faith while fostering strong relations with their local community wherever they may be.

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Lost Words

The following year-end essay is written by Will Kaku, a JAMsj board member and an organizer for the San Jose Day of Remembrance program.

By Will Kaku

It has been said by many that writing letters is a lost art form. People under the age of 35 or so may have never experienced the sentimental emotions of discovering that dusty old shoebox full of beautifully crafted letters that convey love, joy, sorrow, and introspection.   The grief-stricken letter with tear-stained handwriting or the scented love letter expressing longing and passion cannot compare to a laboriously long email thread or be reduced to a 140-character tweet with an embedded emoticon.

Itsuyo Kaku Hori in the Heart Mountain camp

Itsuyo Kaku Hori at Heart Mountain

I recently had a remarkable shoebox moment when I came across several wartime letters written by my aunt, Itsuyo Kaku Hori (or “Aunt Its” as we called her) while she was incarcerated in the Santa Anita Assembly Center and the concentration camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming .  The letters were unknown to me until UC Davis professor Cecilia Tsu visited JAMsj and, by chance, informed me that she had discovered the letters when she was performing research at the History San Jose archives.  The letters were sent to Elizabeth Wade, who was the friendly and caring landlord of the San Jose property where my aunt and her family farmed before the war.

Those personal letters, as well as other wartime correspondence and documentation that I have collected,  challenge us with the concept of what it really means to be an American. The letters also dramatically reveal a tumultuous period that propelled my young aunt into an incredible emotional journey and a great personal transformation.

Persons of Japanese ancestry arrive at the Santa Anita Assembly Center. Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Persons of Japanese ancestry arrive at the Santa Anita Assembly Center. Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The first letters that she wrote from Santa Anita captured my 19-year-old aunt’s youthful innocence, optimism, trust, and naiveté. She mentioned the arduous, seventeen-hour train ride from San Jose to Santa Anita, how she missed the ranch in San Jose, and the long lines of people waiting for their camp meals. But she also remarked that Santa Anita is “a nice place” and that ”the race track is beautifully built with a large grandstand.”

“There are millions of people from all directions,” Aunt Its wrote. She was awestruck. “For you know that this is our first experience to see such a big place with so many people, that it will be a great, big adventure to us.  We don’t know how long the government is going to keep us here, but we are well satisfied. It’s amazing to see what the government can do for so many people at this and the other camps.”

My cousins, Kathy Chang and Noreen Kudo, came to the archives at History San Jose to look at the letters from their mother (my Aunt Its)

My cousins, Kathy Chang and Noreen Kudo, view the wartime letters that were written by their mother (my Aunt Its) and other documents at History San Jose.

Aunt Its wrote to Elizabeth Wade every two months.  And she continued to write the “newsy” letters, as she referred to them, after the family was transferred to the Heart Mountain concentration camp. She wrote cheerfully, “This is our first experience in snow and it looks so pretty and white. The children seem to enjoy themselves by playing snow fights and making a snowman.”  Coincidentally, she mentioned that she saw “the young Mr. Sakauye every time I go to the post office.” (I wasn’t aware that she knew JAMsj founder, Eiichi Sakauye).

These later letters from Heart Mountain also conveyed the first depictions of hardship. She remarked that the cold weather “affects the old folks very much, especially our Mom. She says that she feels as though her ear has been taken off.  We all wish this war would be over pretty soon, but I guess it’s for the time to decide it. Let us all wish for the best of things now.”

Strangely, the continuous stream of letters comes to an abrupt halt in March 1943.  I’m not sure why, but this is the same month the family requested repatriation to Japan (the request was rescinded a few months later).  In addition, it was around the time that the highly controversial “loyalty questionnaire” was issued at Heart Mountain.

Jack Matsuoka's depiction of the arguments that raged within the camp over the questionnaire. Matsuoka's artwork is on display at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.

Jack Matsuoka’s memories of the heated arguments that raged within the camp over the “loyalty questionnaire” are depicted in his book, Poston, Camp II, Block 211.  My family remembered similar tense moments.  Matsuoka’s artwork is on display at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj).

My father recounted to me many years ago when he was still lucid that the camp became a highly volatile place during that period. He recalled that there were people who applied great pressure on him to take a stand one way or another on the questionnaire. He remembered that whenever he had a meal in the mess hall, there was always somebody on the other side of the table emphatically demanding that he answer the questionnaire according to their strongly held point of view.

Perhaps because my Issei grandfather wanted the family to repatriate to Japan, his children who were old enough to sign the questionnaire did not answer the controversial questions #27 and #28 in the affirmative.  Although government records show that my father argued with his father because he wanted to stay in America and that he subsequently registered for Selective Service, he did not answer the questions, which was considered the same as giving a negative response.  He was thus labeled as a disloyal “No-No Boy.”

Local artist, Jack Matsuoka, states, "Discussion and debate on the questionnaire issue grew heated and not infrequently led to quarrels and fights. " From Matsuoka's book Poston, Camp II, Block 211.

Local artist, Jack Matsuoka, states, “Discussion and debate on the questionnaire issue grew heated and not infrequently led to quarrels and fights. ” This sketch is from Matsuoka’s book Poston, Camp II, Block 211.

Most people who answered “no-no” to questions #27 and #28 were moved to the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a high security camp in California near the Oregon border. The results of the questionnaire eventually separated my aunt from the rest of her family. After getting married, my Aunt Its decided to stay in Heart Mountain while the rest of the family was sent to the Tule Lake.

Transcripts of my aunt’s leave clearance hearings reveals a young woman who was undergoing a radical transformation in her thinking. Her husband failed to report to his draft induction, demanding that he would serve in the armed forces only if his rights were fully restored. My uncle is subsequently arrested and sent away to a Department of Justice camp and then later to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. My aunt is left alone in Heat Mountain, separated from her husband and her family. Her earlier feelings of optimism, trust, and hope are now replaced by confusion and cynicism.

Anderson (Assistant Project Director): How has all this made you feel toward the United States?
Hori (my aunt): Before evacuation, it was swell, it was all right, just like other people. I felt good, but since being put in camp, it is something different.
Anderson: As far as the future is concerned, do you feel that you could live your life here and be satisfied that you are an American?
Hori: It is hard to tell right now.
Anderson: You may feel that as a citizen you haven’t been treated right, but there is no question about your being a citizen. You are. Do I understand that the thing that you object to, you disagree with, is the fact you have been evacuated and have been required to live in a relocation center?
Hori: Yes. As citizens we should be treated like other Americans.
Anderson: You still think that under these conditions, you could be a sincerely loyal American, or do you feel that would make you feel a little bitter toward this country?
Hori: (No reply)

Assistant Project Director Anderson continued to press the argument that it is a citizen’s responsibility to report for military service even though he or she is forced into a “relocation center” and that the two issues are separate and should not be confused.

Anderson: Why do you think that you and your husband are any different than myself in regard to such an obligation? You think that I should go, but you feel you and your husband are justified in not going (to join the army).
Hori: They should give us some of the rights back to us, and then it is all right for us to go.
Anderson: What rights?
Hori: Rights of the citizen. Free to go out like other Americans before evacuation. They shouldn’t force us into relocation centers.
My father and my uncles were labeled as disloyal to the United States. After the war when their rights are restored, my father works for 2 years in Korea for the U.S army and another uncle serves in the Korean War and made a career in the military.

My father (far left, first row) and my uncles, seen here at Heart Mountain,  were labeled as disloyal to the United States. After the war, when their rights were restored, one of my uncles served in the Korean War and made his career in the military. My father worked for  the U.S Army in South Korea for nearly two years. To this day, some “No-No Boys” feel that they have been ostracized within the Japanese American community for the position that they took during the war.

Several members of the Leave Clearance Review Committee debated whether my aunt was truly a loyal American. One member wrote his review with underlined annotations for emphasis, “There are no indications of disloyalty, but rather a misconception of evacuation and Selective Service which has not been cleared up. If her husband and she are willing to suffer because of what they think American rights are, both would fight if they were given an understanding of the total picture.”

What they think?  When I read this handwritten notation, I am amazed that people cannot see within themselves their own misconception about what American rights are.

My aunt stayed in Heart Mountain, separated from her husband and her family in Tule Lake. When she found out her father was dying, she had to obtain permission to visit him.  Aunt Its told me once about the multiday train ride from Heart Mountain to Tule Lake. “The train was full of soldiers and nobody would give me a seat. Finally, one Japanese American soldier gave me a seat.” When she arrived at Tule Lake, the camp authorities recorded her fingerprints and took several mug shots. “ We were discriminated against. We were Japs,” Aunt Its said.

My aunt was amazed that I was able to find her 1945 letter to the camp project director. Here she is seen reading the letter in my interview with her in 2006.

My aunt was amazed that I was able to find her 1945 letter to the camp project director. I filmed her reading the letter in my interview with her in 2006.

There was another handwritten letter from my aunt in the government’s archives that stirs sadness within me. In her letter, my aunt emotionally pleaded with a government official to let her stay at the Tule Lake camp so that she could take care of her ailing father.

“When I met him, I was so shocked to see him completely changed from the time we separated last,” my aunt wrote in her letter to the project director. “That really was terrible for me to bear. I feel so sorry for my mother, watching her care for my father and children also. It makes me feel that I want to stay here forever and help, but I’m afraid that is impossible. I do not know when I will meet them (the family) again, and probably by then, he’ll pass away.”

My grandfather's funeral at Tule Lake.

My grandfather’s funeral at Tule Lake.

My aunt was eventually given permission to stay at Tule Lake. She took care of her father until he died several weeks after the war ended.

I was lucky to interview my Aunt Its before she passed away in 2007. Her controversial stories cover a topic that has been very difficult and painful for the Japanese American community. But, the stories also strike at the heart of the definitions of American identity, loyalty, equality, and justice. They have inspired me to ensure that her story, as well as the stories from others, are kept alive at JAMsj.

In my eulogy to her, I said that my aunt took me on a wonderful journey, resulting in my coming  out as a different person on the other side.  Discovering these previously unknown letters let me travel on that remarkable journey with her one more time.  I hope that one day you will also find the “lost words” of a loved one so that you can embark on a similar journey.

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Contact: will@jamsj.org

Links:

To request “WWII Japanese American Internment and Relocation Records” from the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/research/japanese-americans/

San Jose Day of Remembrance: http://www.sjnoc.org/

San Jose Day of Remembrance. Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer.

San Jose Day of Remembrance. Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer.

The Day of Remembrance commemorates  the anniversary of  Executive Order 9066 which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens. Each year, we gather to remember that great civil liberties tragedy from over seventy years ago and each one of us reflects on what that event means to us today.

The Day of Remembrance is an event that aims to bring different communities together in order to build trust, respect and understanding among all people and to renew our pledge to fight for equality, justice and peace.

Other articles by Will Kaku:

The Secret of Tule Lake

Living History

An American Time Capsule

The Echoes of E.O. 9066

The Emotional Journey Into Camp Days

 

 

 

 

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Winter Boutique 2012 Artist Closeup: E. Fukushima

Winter Boutique 2012

JAMsj will hold its annual Winter Boutique on November 10, 2012. We sat down with one of the participating boutique artisans, Emi Fukushima, and talked to her about her products and her background.

Emi Fukushima

Creations by Emi
www.emiscreations.com

As a bilingual instructor in precious metal clay (silver clay), polymer clay, washi paper, and other materials, Emi teaches her techniques at stores and shows in the United States and Japan.

JAMsj: How long have you been designing jewelry?

Washi paper fan brooch with gold cord

Emi: I’ve been designing and making jewelry with fabric (especially kimono and obi fabrics) for more than 20 years. I mainly focus on jewelry at this time.  When I first started, I made other arts and crafts, which is my passion.  You can check my website (www.emiscreations.com) to see exactly what I did in the past.

JAMsj: Why did you want to be involved in the JAMsj Winter Boutique?

Emi:I have been participating in the JAMsj Winter Boutique ever since it started more than 20 years ago. It’s a great venue for JAMsj fundraising.  I mainly sell my jewelry at fundraising events.  Additionally, I am involved in other activities such as teaching, demonstrations and television programs showcasing my work (as noted on my website).  I have also taught workshops and classes throughout the U.S., including Hawaii, and in Japan.  I also teach and do demonstrations at major trade shows.

JAMsj: Were you part of the evacuation and incarceration during World War II?

Emi: Yes, I was incarcerated in the Tule Lake incarceration camp during WWII.  My memories of that time are very limited since I was quite young at the time.

Click here for more information about the 2012 JAMsj Winter Boutique.

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Winter Boutique 2012 Artist Close up: Cynthia Sasaki

Winter Boutique 2012

JAMsj will hold its annual Winter Boutique on November 10, 2012. We sat down with one of the participating boutique artisans, Cynthia Sasaki, and talked to her about her products and background.

Cynthia Sasaki

Cynthia Sasaki Designs

www.cynthiasasakidesigns.com

JAMsj: What products will you be showcasing at the Winter Boutique?

Cynthia: I am a jewelry designer. I love beautiful jewelry and how it makes a person feel when adding the special piece to their outfit to help them feel put together and confident.

Glass Leaves Earring – Green Tea Fantasy

 JAMsj: Why did you decide to participate in the JAMsj Winter Boutique?

Cynthia: Participating in the JAMsj Winter Boutique is an honor and a tribute to my heritage. I enjoy knowing that a percentage of my contributions go to such a worthy organization.

 JAMsj: Were you or someone you know incarcerated during WWII?

Cynthia: Both my parents and grandparents were incarcerated at the Rohwer, Arkansas incarceration camp. My father was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal  because of his duty as an MIS soldier.

Drop by the 2012 JAMsj Winter Boutique and say hello to Cynthia Sasaki. Click here to visit the JAMsj Winter Boutique web page for more information.

 

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Moving Days: The Japanese American Experience in the Santa Clara Valley

The Cupertino Library, a member of the Santa Clara County Library District, the Cupertino Library Foundation (CLF), and the Cupertino Historical Society are kicking off their third Santa Clara Valley History Collaborative exhibit and program series.  The Collaborative is excited to be working with two new community partners – the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) and the California History Center at De Anza College (CHC) to present  Moving Days: The Japanese American Experience in the Santa Clara Valley.  The exhibit will run through December 31, 2012 at the Cupertino Library. The purpose of the joint collaboration is to enhance and promote the historical richness of the Santa Clara Valley.

“We are very grateful to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose for their generosity.  They have provided the Collaborative with access to a wealth of historical photographs, artifacts and artwork that poignantly portray several aspects of the lives of Japanese Americans in the Santa Clara Valley over the last 70 years,” notes Cupertino Community Librarian, Mark Fink. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to bring this powerful and thought provoking exhibit and series of programs to the community. The Cupertino Library Foundation continues to be a catalyst in bringing us all together to share our resources.”

The kickoff event of “Moving Days” is scheduled for Sunday, September 30, 2012 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm with a public reception beginning at 12:45 in the Cupertino Community Hall located at 10350 Torre Ave. Cupertino, CA.  The public is invited to this free panel discussion entitled “Local Japanese Americans Remember Life Before and During World War II.”

The moderator for this panel discussion will be Darcy Paul, a Cupertino Historical Society Board Member.  Panelists will discuss life before WWII in the Valley, life in an internment camp, life as a drafted or enlisted soldier, and how these experiences have shaped modern day lives and experiences.

A second event, Civil Liberties and the Japanese American Experience is scheduled for Sunday, November 18, 2012, at Cupertino’s Community Hall from 12:45pm-3:00pm with a program and panel discussion, moderated by Tom Izu, Director of the California History Center at De Anza College. Panelists will discuss and debate the merits of the Japanese Internment experience, and the lessons learned that are applicable to modern life in America.

“I am especially pleased to join forces with the Santa Clara Valley History Collaborative to present these poignant stories, and to reflect on the lessons we can learn from these experiences,” said Izu. “Collectively, we find healing in the process, and valuable lessons for our youth. I hope many families will attend.”

The staff of the Cupertino Library have put together some book lists that interested patrons and program visitors can consult for more information on the theme of Moving Days: The Japanese American Experience in the Santa Clara Valley. A Cupertino Library book club discussion on Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston  has been selected in conjunction with the program theme, and the art display walls located in the Cupertino Library will be dedicated to displaying images related to the theme as further described  on the Cupertino Library Foundation web site.

For further information go to: www.cupertinolibraryfoundation.org and visit www.jamsj.org

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