Japanese American National Museum
Past Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Fire Station, c. 1945, Oil on paper.

Kenjiro Nomura: An Artist's View of the Japanese American Internment
October 4, 1997 - January 11, 1998

On April 30, 1942, Kenjiro Nomura, his wife, and son were forcibly removed from their homes in Seattle and incarcerated in the Puyallup Assembly Center. Eventually they were transported, along with nearly 10,000 other Japanese Americans to the Minidoka concentration camp in Hunt, Idaho. At the time of the removal, Nomura was already an established and prolific artist. He worked at various other jobs to support himself financially, including operating a sign painting shop in Seattle. At both Puyallup and Minidoka he worked again as a sign painter and created many images of camp life including landscapes and portraits of daily rituals. Nomura produced a visual record of his experiences with whatever materials he could find, often using industrial paints and government issued paper. This exhibition provides an opportunity to view a portion of this important collection of works.

Asato Yamamoto, Mitsugu Hamanaka and Mitoki Kawaguchi, Fresno, California, June 1938.

Sumo U.S.A.: Wrestling the Grand Tradition
July 3 - November 30, 1997

Though known as the national sport of Japan, sumo has a long history in the United States. Prior to World War II, the story of sumo in the U.S. is a Japanese American one, where it played an important and largely forgotten role in many Japanese American communities in Hawai‘i and on the West Coast.

Whispered Silences: Japanese American Detention Camps, Fifty Years Later
May 3 - September 14, 1997

Whispered Silences features the work of fine-arts photographer Joan Myers who embarked on a journey to photograph all ten World War II War Relocation Authority concentration camps. The result of her odyssey is a series of haunting black and white images of the camps as they appear today and the relics that were left behind.

The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawai'i Belt Road
February 9 - June 9, 1997

The Kona Coffee Story tells the story of the coffee growing industry of Kona on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, from the arrival of the first coffee plants in 1828 to the poignant stories of the Japanese American coffee pioneers living today.

Collection of The Rafu Shimpo (NRC.1997.57.1)

Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp
January 14 - April 13, 1997

This exhibition highlights the JANM’s collection of letters written to San Diego librarian Clara Breed by Japanese Americans incarcerated in World War II concentration camps.

Miss Breed, as she was known to the teenagers and young adults who wrote to her, was a lifeline to the outside world who comforted internees during their time of need. Viewers will be reminded of the significance of camp through the reflections of teenagers who lived through the experience. A model of the Manzanar concentration camp constructed by model maker Robert Hasuike will also be on display.

The Life and Work of George Hoshida: A Japanese American's Journey

George Hoshida (1907-1985) was an incarcerated artist who documented camp life with pencil and brushwork in a series of notebooks he kept between 1942 and 1945. This exhibition provides insight into one individual's incarceration experience through examples of Hoshida's artwork and personal correspondence with his family.

Fighting For Tomorrow: Japanese Americans in America's Wars
November 10, 1995 - January 12, 1997

Fighting for Tomorrow is the story of Japanese Americans in America's wars and particularly of their heroic service in World War II. It is the story of two wars--against America's enemies abroad and for equal rights at home.

America's Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience
November 11, 1994 - October 15, 1995

America’s Concentration Camps depicts an episode in American history that too few know or understand: the mass incarceration of loyal Americans without charge or trial solely on the basis of race. During World War II more than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry—2/3 of whom were American citizens—were incarcerated in hastily built camps in America's deserts and wastelands.

In this Great Land of Freedom: The Japanese Pioneers of Oregon
August 7, 1993 - January 16, 1994

This historical overview exhibition is created by the Museum in partnership with the Oregon Historical Society and the Japanese American community in Oregon. The exhibition tells of the early struggles and triumphs of the Japanese pioneers of Oregon from 1890 to 1952.

The View From Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942-1945
October 13 - December 6, 1992

The largest of its kind, this exhibition features 135 works of fine art created by internees of the American internment camps during World War II. Co-organized by the Japanese American National Museum, the UCLA Wight Art Gallery and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and curated by Karin M. Higa, the exhibition is part of the national commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which authorized the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.



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