Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases


Joseph Duong - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles, CA

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) announced that it is the recipient of two grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP) that will support the development of exhibitions on the diary and letters of Nisei Stanley Hayami and on the Japanese American youth clubs that were organized in the World War II concentration camps. The Hayami project was awarded $100,000 and the youth clubs in camp exhibition received $30,000.

Stanley Hayami was 16 when he and his family were forcibly removed from their home and incarcerated at Heart Mountain War Relocation Center in Wyoming beginning in 1942. As the art editor for the high school yearbook, Hayami maintained a diary in which he provided a unique and invaluable glimpse into life in camp through his observations and his pen and ink drawings. That diary is preserved as part of JANM’s permanent collection.

Inducted into the Army in 1944, he joined the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. While deployed, he wrote a series of letters to his family until he was killed in action at San Terenzo, Italy, in 1945. Hayami was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously.

Through Hayami’s letters, diary entries and artwork, JANM will develop an immersive and interactive exhibition that follows Stanley’s life from growing up around the family nursery in the San Gabriel Valley to Heart Mountain to his service in the military. Hayami’s life has been the subject of a film (“A Flicker in Eternity”) and a book (Stanley Hayami, Nisei Son).

Of the approximate 120,000 Japanese Americans that were incarcerated by the U.S. government during the war, an estimated one-third were children. The leaders and parents in the camps did everything possible to create a normal life for their youth under the most abnormal conditions. One of the popular methods used was involving their children in clubs.

Besides the well-known Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Japanese American youth also belonged to numerous newly-created social clubs, hobby groups, cultural schools and dance clubs. JANM will interview former camp inmates on their recollections of these groups and the role they played in helping young people endure life in a concentration camp.

“The Japanese American National Museum is grateful for the on-going support from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program,” stated Ann Burroughs, JANM President and CEO. “These two grants provide necessary funding to two JANM core programmatic projects that delve into the lives of young Japanese Americans during World War II. Both the Stanley Hayami Diary project and the Youth Clubs in Camp exhibit will provide insight into the remarkable resiliency of these young people and their determination to surmount circumstances that were beyond their control. Given our current situation with COVID-19, there is a lot we can all learn from these young people.”

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program is a state-funded grant project of the California State Library. The competitive grant program supports the creation and dissemination of educational and public awareness resources concerning the history and the lessons of civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices carried out against communities or populations. Since the creation of the program in 1998, artists, writers, public television stations and other non-profit organizations as well as state and local government agencies have undertaken more than 300 projects. For additional information on the program, contact Mary Beth Barber, special projects and assistant to the State Librarian at

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Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite and traveled 17 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. For more information visit or follow us on social media @jamuseum.

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