Dark Clouds Over Paradise: The Hawai'i Internees Story (exhibition)


Exhibition organized by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) that focused on the World War II internment of Japanese Americans living in Hawai'i. Originally organized in 2004, a later traveling version of the exhibition debuted in 2006 and traveled widely in Hawai'i over the next several years.

Spurred by a phone call from a local television station in 1998 regarding the location of Honouliuli, one of the internment camps located on O'ahu, JCCH recognized the significance of the story and paucity of information on it, and began building a collection on the topic over the next few years. In 2002, the "Hawaii Internees" project was one of four featured in a "'Works in Progress' Showcase" at the center. Two years later, the first version of Dark Clouds opened in JCCH Community Gallery on June 5, 2004, running through July 31. The exhibition centered on internee family collections acquired by JCCH and was organized by a volunteer committee working out of JCCH's Resource Center. Public programs during that run included "Internment Camp Songs and Stories," featuring internees Harry Urata, Shozo Takahashi, and Chojiro Kageura, on June 26, 2004; "Challenges to Civil Rights in Threatening Times" on July 3; a book event for Ganbare! by Patsy Sumie Saiki; and "From Sand Island to Santa Fe," featuring Gail Y. Okawa.

The next iteration of the exhibit was a traveling version funded by a grant from the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, which opened on September 16, 2006, at the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo, Hawai'i. The twelve panel display traveled to wide range of institutions on the Big Island, Kaua'i and O'ahu over the next five years, including the Kauai Museum, the Kailua-Kona Public Library, and the Kapolei Public Library. Dark Clouds returned to JCCH from March 1 to April 11, 2008, in concert with first Honouliuli Pilgrimage on March 2, 2008. Dark Clouds was succeeded by another traveling exhibition, Right from Wrong: Learning the Lessons of Honouliuli in 2011.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Kurahara, Jane, Brian Niiya, and Betsy Young. "Finding Honouliuli: The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i and Preserving the Hawai'i Internment Story." Social Process in Hawai'i 44 (2013): 39–65.