Museum exhibitions on incarceration

Museum exhibitions have been an important if understudied medium for telling the story of the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. The stories they tell and their reasons for telling them have changed over time, from early exhibitions of inmate art designed to ease their " resettlement " back into the mainstream American community during and immediately after the war, to exhibitions inspired by 1960s social movements or the later movement for redress and reparations . The last decade-and-a-half has seen a flood of exhibitions funded by federal and state civil liberties and confinement sites grant programs.

Wartime and Early Postwar Exhibitions

The first exhibitions that told some part of the incarceration story to the general public were art exhibitions that began to appear even before the war had ended. [1] While the best known of these was a 1944 exhibition of photographs of Manzanar by renowned photographer Ansel Adams at New York's Museum of Modern Art , there were also many exhibitions of artistic representations of the concentration camps by inmates that were mostly sponsored by social service type organizations as part of the effort to ease the "resettlement" of Japanese Americans from the camps to communities in the East and Midwest. These exhibitions were no doubt part of the campaign to humanize Japanese Americans in communities they would be moving into, many of which had seen few if any Japanese Americans before. This campaign also included brochures and pamphlets, press releases, photographs , and short films produced by the War Relocation Authority as well as private groups and even speaking tours (that often featured white veterans who had fought alongside Nisei soldiers) that depicted Japanese Americans in the best possible light. [2]

As early as July of 1942, there was an exhibition of works from Tanforan's Art School at Mills College in Oakland in conjunction with a conference of the Institute of International Relations that featured works by Miné Okubo and Tom Yamamoto among others. [3] In October of 1943, there was an exhibition of camp art at the Friends Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts that included works from Chiura Obata (his painting "New Moon" was awarded first prize), Paul Zaima, Hisako Hibi , and many others. [4]

The most widely seen early group exhibition toured the East and Midwest in 1945–46. It debuted at the New Jersey College for Women in May of 1945 with sponsorship by several mostly church-based organizations. Among the twenty-six artists featured were ten who had been in camp and sixteen who had resided on the East Coast throughout the war years. After its run in New Jersey, Resettlement Council of Japanese American Organizations in New York City and New York chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League arranged subsequent travels to Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, and Rochester. [5]

Henry Sugimoto and Mine Okubo had the most prominent solo shows of camp related art during and immediately after the war. Sugimoto's one-man exhibition at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, in February 1944 featured fifty paintings and drawings of life at Jerome . He had another solo show in New York sponsored by the Common Council for American Unity in November and December of 1945 that featured 26 paintings, nine of which depicted life in camp. [6] A traveling exhibition of Okubo's paintings and drawings—many of which would be featured in her landmark book Citizen 13360 published in 1946—was also sponsored by the Common Council for American Unity and opened at American Common in New York in April 1945. It later went to St. Paul, Detroit, Oakland, San Francisco, Southern California, and Denver. [7] Other artists with solo shows in this early period include Masao Yabuki (Philadelphia, April 1945), Sumi Horibe (Des Moines, August 1945), and Miki Hayakawa (Denver, October 1946). [8]

Redress Era Exhibitions

The next two decades plus saw a general silence about the wartime incarceration and general discussions or depictions of it due both to Japanese Americans' desire to move on with their lives—to the point of being regarded as a " model minority "—and the suppression of the traumatic experiences of the wartime. (See Psychological effects of camp .) But with increased interest by Sansei influenced by 1960s social movements, the first camp pilgrimages , camp-related political campaigns such as the effort to repeal Title II of the Emergency Detention Act , and the first mainstream discussions of seeking reparations for the wartime incarceration, led to calls for better and more honest depictions of the incarceration experience. This general trend led to several pioneering exhibitions—as well as documentary films, plays, books, and other media depictions. The most widely viewed of these was undoubtedly Executive Order 9066 , a photographic exhibition that highlighted previously suppressed photographs by Dorothea Lange , that was organized by the California Historical Society in 1972 and subsequently traveled widely. The CHS made two copies of the exhibition, with one traveling in the eastern half of the country and one in the west. Appearing in such venues as the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, it likely introduced many Americans to the topic. It later traveled to Hawai'i and even to Japan. The California Historical Society also organized a companion art exhibition titled Months of Waiting, 1942–1945 that traveled less extensively. Both exhibitions were featured in the nationally broadcast 1972 NBC documentary Guilty by Reason of Race .

Another important early exhibition was Pride and Shame , organized by the Seattle JACL and the Museum of History and Industry in 1970. A overview of the Japanese American community in Seattle, Pride and Shame included a section on the wartime incarceration that included a full size replica of a barracks interior. A traveling version of the exhibition later went to various venues in the Pacific Northwest over the next several years. In Los Angeles, newly formed visual arts organization Visual Communications produced a traveling exhibitions titled America's Concentration Camps that became informally known as the "Camp Cubes", since it consisted of cubes depicting images of camp; the cubes could be arranged in a wide variety of manners to fit different spaces or to accompany different objects. In 1972, the Oakland Museum opened a retrospective exhibition titled Miné Okubo: An American Experience that included many of the artist's camp related work.

Other important exhibitions appeared in the 1980s as interest in redress continued to build. A 1981 exhibition at the Army Presidio Museum in San Francisco titled Go for Broke highlighted the story of Nisei soldiers in World War II, juxtaposed against the story of Japanese American incarceration. This widely viewed exhibition influenced the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History to center an exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution on the incarceration of Japanese Americans. A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution , which opened in 1987, provided an overview of the exclusion and incarceration and included a reproduction of a concentration camp barracks, while also telling the story of Nisei soldiers, camp dissidents, and the then ongoing redress movement. Though controversial, the exhibition was critically acclaimed for the most part and was extended long beyond its planned three year run, staying up until 2004.

New Japanese American Institutions

The 1980s also saw the formation of several new Japanese American historical organizations, inspired by the renewed interest in Japanese American history and by the aging of the Nisei generation. The largest and most influential was the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), incorporated in 1985, and opened to the public in 1992 in Los Angeles' historic Little Tokyo neighborhood. Though its opening exhibition was on the Issei experience, JANM would devote much of its resources to producing a series of major exhibitions that had the World War II experience at its center. The first was The View from Within , a retrospective exhibition on art produced in the concentration camps mounted in 1992 as part of 50th anniversary commemorates of Executive Order 9066 at the Wight Art Gallery on the UCLA campus in collaboration with the Wight and with the UCLA's Asian American Studies Center. Next came, America's Concentration Camps in 1994, notable for the acquisition and display of an actual barracks building from Heart Mountain in a parking lot across from JANM and for renewed controversy over the term "concentration camp," particularly in the subsequent travels of the exhibition. This was followed in 1995 by Fighting for Tomorrow , an exhibition focusing on Japanese American soldiers, particularly those from World War II. JANM has featured many subsequent exhibitions on aspects of the World War II experience many of which have an arts focus, including major retrospective exhibitions on Hisako Hibi (1999) and Henry Sugimoto (2001), as well as perhaps the first exhibition on the resettlement period ( Coming Home: Memories of Japanese American Resettlement , 1998). The opening of JANM's new pavilion in 2000 saw the debut of its new core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community , which included parts of the Heart Mountain barracks as well as an extensive section on the World War II experience. In 2004, JANM collaborated with various institutions in Arkansas on the Life Interrupted project, which included eight different exhibitions in Arkansas.

The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) formed in 1986 in the San Francisco Bay area and has produced many traveling exhibitions on the incarceration experience. Their 1990 photographic exhibition U.S. Detention Camps, 1942–1946 was likely the first to incorporate into the broader mass incarceration story the enemy alien detention/internment camps as well as camp dissidents and suicides, while Strength and Diversity: Japanese American Women, 1885–1990 (1990) and Diamonds in the Rough: Japanese Americans In Baseball are among their broader exhibitions that include a significant concentration camp component. Incorporated in 1987 and opening its doors to the public in 1994, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) includes the story of Japanese Americans from Hawai'i who were interned as part of its core exhibition, "Okage sama de." The last decade has seen JCCH focus increasingly on the Hawai'i internee story, with the institution producing two traveling exhibitions on the topic, Dark Clouds Over Paradise: The Hawai'i Internees Story and Right from Wrong: Honoring the Lessons of Honouliuli (2011), among many other related projects.

Though the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience has roots going back to the 1960s, its focus switched from Asian folk art to the history of the local Asian Pacific American community in the 1980s, and it moved into a new space in Seattle's International District in 1987. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the mass incarceration, the Wing Luke opened Executive Order 9066: 50 Years Before and 50 Years After in 1992, an acclaimed exhibition that also pioneered a community-based approach in which there was no staff curator.

Mainstream Institutions

Starting in the years after the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 , a number of mainstream institutions began to incorporate the story of Japanese American incarceration into their programs and exhibitions, whether by adding that story to core local history exhibitions or by instituting new projects focused on Japanese Americans. Among the institutions to incorporate the wartime incarceration story in a substantial way into overview exhibitions are the Chicago Historical Society, which included the story of Japanese American resettlement in Chicago in the 1992 exhibition Chicago Goes to War, 1941–1945 ; the Utah State Historical Society's Utah at the Crossroads (1992), which includes the story of the Topaz camp; and the New Mexico History Museum, whose Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now (2009) includes a section on the Santa Fe and Lordsburg detention camps. Most recently, the newly renovated History Colorado Center (2012) includes as one of its core stories a sub-exhibition titled Confined Citizens: The Amache-Granada Relocation Center, 1942–1945 . The California Museum includes as one of its core exhibitions Uprooted! Japanese Americans during WWII . The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana opened an exhibition titled From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII in 2014.

At the national level, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), no doubt influenced by the popularity of A More Perfect Union , launched a exhibition titled Whispered Silences: Japanese American Detention Camps, Fifty Years Later in 1995. Across the ocean, the Japanese analogue of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Japanese History in Sakura, Japan, presented a Japanese take on Japanese American incarceration titled Japanese Immigrants in the United States and the War Era which opened in 2010 and was up for a year.

Civil Liberties Fund/Confinement Sites Grant Era Projects

The years since 1997 have seen a steady stream of governmental funding sources for projects tied to the wartime incarceration story including the federal Civil Liberties Public Education Fund (1996–98), state Civil Liberties Public Education Programs in California (1999–2011) and Washington (2000–08), and the federal Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program (2007–present). As a result, there has been a flood of exhibitions as well as other types of projects in those years.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of this funding have been new or existing organizations planning interpretive exhibitions or displays at or near the sites of the concentration camps. To be sure, there were many such exhibitions/institutions before, including the Gila River Arts and Crafts Center , the Granada Museum in Granada, Colorado, the Great Basin Museum in Millard County Utah, the Homesteader Museum in Powell, Wyoming, and the Tule Lake–Butte Valley Fairground and Museum . For many years, the Eastern California Museum in Independence, California featured exhibitions that told the story of the nearly Manzanar camp. Today, the Manzanar National Historic Site is operated by the National Park Service and includes a museum and site interpretation and recreations of a guard tower and barracks.

Among the largest beneficiaries of funds from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program are three ambitious new site based museums. The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center located near the Heart Mountain site in Wyoming received over $1 million in JACS funding and opened to the public in 2011. It's core exhibition is titled Across the Wire: Voices from Heart Mountain . The World War II Japanese American Internment Museum , located in McGehee, Arkansas, about midway between the Jerome and Rohwer sites received $435,000 in JACS funds and opened to the public in 2013. Its core exhibition, Against Their Will: The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas , was originally developed for the Life Interrupted project in 2004. The Topaz Museum is currently being constructed near Delta, Utah, received a $714,000 JACS grants and is scheduled to open to the public in 2015. Several smaller scale interpretive displays have also been funded by JACS or the civil liberties programs.

We have perhaps come full circle, since a high percentage of recent exhibitions have focused on the arts, as was the case in 1945–46. Artist Roger Shimomura has created several different exhibitions based on the incarceration period including An American Diary , paintings based on his grandmother's wartime diary. As in 1944, Ansel Adams remains a popular figure, with new exhibitions of his Manzanar photographs being mounted by the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 2006, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 2009, and the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum in 2011. The most widely viewed of these exhibitions has undoubtedly been The Art of Gaman , an exhibition of craft objects created in the camp based on the book by Delphine Hirasuna. Debuting in 2006, it will have traveled to fifteen different venues in the United States and Japan by the end of its travels in 2015.

The period of government funding of wartime incarceration-based projects will end eventually, and as that story becomes more integrated into mainstream historical museums—and as the generation of Japanese Americans that has first had memories of the concentration fades away—it will be interesting to see how many more exhibitions centered on that story we will see in the years to come and who will put them on.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

For More Information

Murray, Alice Yang. Historical Memories of the Japanese American Internment and the Struggle for Redress . Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Overmyer, Deborah A., and Geoffrey J. Giglierano. "American Museums and Executive Order 9066: Who Has Told the Story, The Story That Was Told." In Alien Justice: Wartime Internment in Australia and North America . Edited by Kay Saunders and Roger Daniels. Queensland, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 2000. 234–54.

Salyers, Abbie Lynn. "The Internment of Memory: Forgetting and Remembering the Japanese American World War II Experience." Ph.D. dissertation, Rice University, 2009.

Yoo, David. "Captivating Memories: Museology, Concentration Camps, and Japanese American History." American Quarterly 48.4 (Dec 1996): 680-99.

List of Exhibitions

Early Exhibitions

America's Concentration Camps/Camp Cubes , Visual Communications, Los Angeles/traveling, 1970

Executive Order 9066 , California Historical Society, traveling, 1972–87

Manzanar: Photographs by Ansel Adams of Loyal Japanese-American Relocation Center , Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1944

Miné Okubo: An American Experience , Oakland Museum, July 18 to August 20, 1972

Months of Waiting, 1942–1945 , California Historical Society, traveling 1972–74

Pride and Shame , Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, Washington, 1970

Overviews of Removal/Incarceration

American Concentration Camps , Powell Library, UCLA, January 18, 2017 to March 24, 2017

America's Concentration Camps , Japanese American National Museum and traveling, 1994–2004

Children Of Detention Camps, 1942-1946 , National Japanese American Historical Society

Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience , Go For Broke National Education Center, traveling 2017

Evacuation 1942–1945: A Japanese American Perspective , University of Washington, 1979

Exclusion: The Presidio's Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration , Presidio Trust, April 1, 2017 to March 2018

Executive Order 9066: The 75th Anniversary , Oviatt Library, California State University, Northridge, January 31 to May 31, 2017

From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII , National World War II Museum, 2014

Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066 , Japanese American National Museum, February 18 to August 13, 2017

Japanese Immigrants in the United States and the War Era , National Museum of Japanese History, 2010

A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans & the U.S. Constitution , Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, 1987

9066: Japanese American Voices from the Inside , Henry Madden Library, Fresno State University, February 19 to April 30, 2017

Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment , Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, November 5, 2015 to February 26, 2016

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II , The National Museum of American History, February 17, 2017 to February 19, 2018

Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties , Alphawood Gallery and Japanese American Service Committee [Chicago], June 29 to November 19, 2017

Uncommon Ground: Behind the Barbed Wire , MiraCosta College Library (Oceanside Campus), March 27 to April 28, 2017

Uprooted! Japanese Americans during WWII , California Museum, 2007–present

U.S. Detention Camps, 1942–1946 , National Japanese American Historical Society, traveling, 1990


An American Diary: Paintings by Roger Shimomura

Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar , Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, Bainbridge Island, Washington, 2011

Ansel Adams at Manzanar , Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2006

Art Behind Barbed Wire , Northwest Nikkei Museum, 2012

The Art of Gaman , traveling, 2006–15

The Art of HIsako Hibi , de Saiseet Museum at Santa Clara University, 2004

The Art of Living: Japanese American Creative Experience at Rohwer , Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, 2011

Arts and Crafts from the Camps: The Arkansas Camp Experience , University of Arkansas, Little Rock, 2004

Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: Arts and Crafts from the Heart Mountain Internment Camp , Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 2011

Beauty in Captivity: Objects Made in the Japanese American Internment Camps , Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, traveling, 2008

Capturing a Generation through the Eye of a Lens: The Photographs of Frank C. Hirahara, 1948–54 , Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, 2014

A Challenge to Democracy: Ethnic Profiling of Japanese Americans During World War II , Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 2009 [features the work of Ansel Adams and Chiura Obata]

Crafting History: Arts and Crafts from America's Concentration Camps , Japanese American National Museum, 2002

Crossings: 10 Views of America's Concentration Camps , Japanese American National Museum, 2009

A Culture Within: The Japanese American Experience through Art , Petaluma Arts Center, 2012

Executive Order 9066: The Internment Camp Art of Kasumi "Gus" Nakagawa , San Geronimo Valley Community Center, San Geronimo, California, 2012

Freedom from Fear/Yellow Bowl Project , FDR Presidential Library & Museum, 2017

"From Bleakness...", The Gallery at Hastings-on-Hudson [New York], September 11 to November 5, 1989

Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit , The California Museum, 2017

A Half-Century of Hope and Suffering: Japanese and Japanese American Painters in the United States, 1896–1945 , Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum, 1995

Handmade in Camp: What We Couldn't Carry , White River Valley Museum, Auburn, Washington, 2016.

Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience , Japanese American National Museum, 2001

Hiroshi Honda: Detained' ', Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2012

If They Came For Me Today: The Japanese-American Internment Project , Community Works, San Francisco, California and New York, 2003

Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II , Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, February 19 to December 31, 2017

The Japanese American Experience, The Years of Internment 1941-1945 , Wittenburg University, Springfield, Ohio, 2006 [wood block prints by Henry Sugimoto, ]

Lasting Beauty: Miss Jamison and the Student Muralists , Japanese American National Museum, 2004

Life Interrupted: Personal Sketches Behind Barbed Wire: Santa Anita, Summer 1942, Riyo Sato (1913–2009) , Glib Museum of Arcadia Heritage, 2013

Living in Color: The Art of Hideo Date , Japanese American National Museum, 2001

Kenjiro Nomura: An Artist's View of the Japanese American Internment , Wing Luke Museum, Seattle Washington, 1991

Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams , Photographic Traveling Exhibitions, 2014

Obata: The Artwork of Chiura Obata , Merced County Arts Council, June 16 to September 7, 2002

Personal Responsibility: The Camp Photographs of Toyo Miyatake , Eastern California Museum, 2001

A Process of Reflection: Paintings by Hisako Hibi , Japanese American National Museum, 1999

Quilting Memories: The Japanese American Experience of Internment , National Japanese American Historical Society, 2010

Reflections of Internment: The Art of Hawaii's Hiroshi Honda , Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1994

Relics from Camp , Japanese American National Museum, 1996

Relocations and Revisions: The Japanese-American Internment Reconsidered , Long Beach Museum of Art, 1992

Sa Sa E: Objects of Memory , National Japanese American Historical Society, 2009

Shadows of Minidoka , Lawrence Arts Centers, Lawrence, Kansas, 2011 [art by Roger Shimomura]

Sights Unseen: The Photographic Constructions of Masumi Hayashi , Japanese American National Museum, 2003

Something from Nothing: Art and Handcrafted Objects from America’s Concentration Camps , Thatcher Gallery, University of San Francisco, August 21 to November 15, 2017

Toyo: Behind the Glass Eye , Japanese American Cultural and Community Center [Los Angeles], October 5 to December 10, 2017

Two Views of Manzanar , Frederick S. Wight Gallery, UCLA, 1977.

A View from the Inside , Oakland Museum, 1976.

The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942–1945 , Japanese American National Museum and UCLA, 1992

Whispered Silences: Japanese American Detention Camps, Fifty Years Later , Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, 1995

Specific Camp or Community

Against Their Will: The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas , University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2004

The Art of Survival: Enduring the Turmoil of Tule Lake , National Japanese American Historical Society, traveling, 2014

Blossoms And Thorns: A Community Uprooted , National Japanese American Historical Society, 2014

Canefields and Deserts: Japanese American Internment , Japanese American National Museum, 1992

A Circle of Freedom: Lost & Restored , History Museum of Hood River County, 2006

Confined Citizens: The Amache-Granada Relocation Center, 1942–1945 , History Colorado Center, 2012

Connecting the Pieces: Dialogues from the Amache Archeology Collection , Denver University, traveling, 2012

Continuing Traditions: Japanese Americans, Story of a People, 1869-1992 , Sacramento History Museum, 1992

Dark Clouds Over Paradise: The Hawai'i Internees Story , Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2004

Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp , Japanese American National Museum, 1997

Eastern California Museum, Independence, California [Manzanar]

Executive Order 9066: 50 Years Before and 50 Years After , Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1992

Gila River Arts and Crafts Center

Great Basin Museum, Millard County, Utah [Topaz]

Granada Museum, Granada, Colorado

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

The Heart Mountain Story , Mamoru Inouye, traveling, 1998

Homesteader Museum, Powell, Wyoming [Heart Mountain]

Hyakunen no Michi: The Hundred Year Road , Museum of San Diego History, 1997

Jerome County Historical Society [Minidoka]

Kokoro: The Story of Sacramento’s Lost Japantown , The California Museum, 2017

Land of Joy and Sorrow: Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley , Yakima Valley Museum, 2010 to present

Manzanar National Historic Site

Only the Oaks Remain , Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition/San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, traveling, 2016.

Only What We Could Carry: The Santa Anita Assembly Center , Arcadia Historical Museum, 2009, 2017

Re-Visioning Manzanar: Selections from the Permanent Collection , Japanese American National Museum, 1999

Right from Wrong: Honoring the Lessons of Honouliuli , Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2011

Topaz Museum

Tule Lake–Butte Valley Fairground and Museum, Tule Lake, California

World War II Japanese American Internment Museum , Arkansas, 2013

Broader Exhibitions with Camp Element

Chicago Goes to War, 1941–1945 , Chicago Historical Society, 1992

Common Ground: The Heart of Community , Japanese American National Museum,

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing , Oakland Museum of California, May 13 to August 27, 2017

Fighting for Democracy , Japanese American National Museum, traveling

From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai'i , Japanese American National Museum, traveling, 1998

Home Front: WWII Years in the Ojai Valley , Ojai Valley Museum, 2002

Strength and Diversity: Japanese American Women, 1885–1990 , National Japanese American Historical Society, traveling, 1990

Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now. New Mexico History Museum , 2009.

Utah at the Crossroads , Utah State Historical Society, 1992

Leaving Camp

Coming Home: Memories of Japanese American Resettlement , Japanese American National Museum, 1998

Executive Order 9066: Impact at Oxy Spring 1942 , Occidental College Library, 2017

Interrupted Lives: The UW and Nikkei Students during World War II , University of Washington, 2008

Origins of Now: Rebuilding Community , Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago, 2007

Park University as a Beacon of Hope: Nisei Students Escape Internment Camps to Attend College , Park University, Parkville, Missouri 2013

Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during World War II , Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and Four Rivers Cultural Center, 2014

Military Service

American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal , Smithsonian Institution, traveling, 2013

Beyond the Call of Duty: Honoring the 24 Japanese American Medal of Honor Recipients , MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Millitary History, 2004

Bound By Honor: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II Comics , National Japanese America Historical Society, 2015

Courage Untold: The Story of the Japanese American Military Intelligence Service, 1941 to 1952 , White River Valley Museum, Auburn, Washington, October 10, 2007 to January 21, 2008

Fighting for Tomorrow: Japanese Americans in America's Wars , Japanese American National Museum, 1995

Go For Broke , Army Presidio Museum, San Francisco, 1981

Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts , Ellis Island Immigration Museum, 2010

Hawaii's Japanese Americans , US Army Museum of Hawaii, Honolulu

Nisei Veterans' Exhibit , USS Hornet Museum, Alameda, California, 2008–present

Our Humble Heroes: Stories of Service and Sacrifice during WWII , Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, 2013

Prejudice and Patriotism: The Story of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service 1941–1952 , National Japanese American Historical Society, 2009

Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II , MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Millitary History, 2004

Unlikely Liberators , Holocaust Museum Houston, April 15 to July 5, 2005

What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home? , Oregon Historical Society, traveling, 2013

Witness: Our Brothers' Keepers , Japanese American National Museum and National Museum of American Jewish Military History, traveling, 1995


  1. There were numerous exhibitions of arts and crafts in the concentration camps themselves, with some even taking place during the " assembly center " period. Alan Eaton's 1952 book Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers) includes several photographs of such displays. Eaton writes of these exhibitions that they "contributed so much to the life, the culture, and the morale of he Relocation Centers." (Eaton, Beauty Behind Barbed Wire , p. 96) For obvious reasons, these exhibitions were largely not seen by the general public.
  2. See Greg Robinson, After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012); Lane Hirabayashi with Kenichiro Shimada, Japanese American Resettlement Through the Lens: Hikaru Carl Iwasaki and the WRA's Photographic Section, 1943–1945 (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2009); Ellen Wu, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014); Allan W. Austin, "Projecting Japanese American Exile and Incarceration: Ethnicity, the Enemy, and Mass Incarceration in Film during World War II," 2004-2005 Film and History CD-ROM Annual (Cleveland, Oklahoma: Film and History Center, 2006).
  3. Pacific Citizen , July 9, 1949, 2, accessed on Jan. 12, 2018 at .
  4. Pacific Citizen , Oct. 16, 1943, 3, accessed on Jan. 12, 2018 at . An unidentified WRA photographer documented this exhibition, taking pictures of the prize-winning works. See, for instance, Paul Zaima's "Horizons Can Be Clear," Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, , accessed on Oct. 7, 2014.
  5. The sponsoring groups included the New York Church Committee for Japanese Americans, American Baptist Home Missions Society, New York Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League , Committee for Resettlement of Japanese Americans of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, and Resettlement Council of Japanese American Organizations in New York City. Pacific Citizen , May 26, 1945, 6, ; June 30, 1945, 3, ; Nov. 3, 1945, 8, ; Nov. 24, 1945, 6, ; and Jan. 12, 1946, 3, , all accessed on Jan. 12, 2018.
  6. Pacific Citizen , Feb. 19, 1944, 6, ; Nov. 10, 1945, 6, , both accessed on Jan. 12, 2018.
  7. Pacific Citizen , Apr. 14, 1945, 5, ; Apr. 13, 1946, 5, ; July 13, 1946, 5, ; Sept. 14, 1946, 2, ; and Jan. 18, 1947, 6, , all accessed on Jan. 12, 2018.
  8. Pacific Citizen , Apr. 7, 1945, 6, ; Oct. 27, 1945, 8, ; and Oct. 19, 1946, 2, , all accessed on Jan. 12, 2018; Rohwer Relocator , Sept. 28, 1945, 4.

Last updated July 29, 2020, 5:59 p.m..