Irei: National Monument for the WWII Japanese American Incarceration is a multi-faceted project to address the erasure of the identities of individuals of Japanese ancestry who experienced wartime incarceration and to expand the concept of what monument is through three distinct, interlinking elements: a sacred book of names as a monument (Ireichō), a website as a monument (Ireizō), and light sculptures as monuments (Ireihi).
The project is funded by the Mellon Foundation and led by Duncan Ryuken Williams, co-curator of Sutra and Bible: Faith and the Japanese American World War II Incarceration at JANM, professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, chair of the USC School of Religion, and director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, and Project Creative Director, Sunyoung Lee.
The Ireichō contains the first comprehensive listing of over 125,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated in US Army, Department of Justice, Wartime Civil Control Administration, and War Relocation Authority camps. Embedded into the very materiality of the Ireichō are special ceramic pieces made from soil collected by the project from seventy-five former incarceration sites from Alaska to Hawai‘i, Arkansas to California, and from almost every other region of the United States.
The Ireizō lists those names online at ireizo.com. Visitors can search for the person’s name by name, birth year, or camp.
Stamping of the Ireichō will require a reservation. All visitors are welcome to stamp the Ireichō. Each group may stamp up a total of up to six names per reservation. You do not have to be a former incarceree, a relative, or a descendant of a former incarceree to stamp the book.
When filling out the reservation, please provide the names and dates of birth for the people you are stamping so that JANM can prepare for your visit. If you do not have six specific individuals, please type “NA” in the name fields.
Camp survivors and those with special circumstances can contact the Development office at 213.830.5646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to stamp your name.
Visit the Stamping Instructions page for information on how to make a reservation to stamp the Ireicho book.