FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 26, 2018


Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles, CA—Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu recently hosted an event in Sherman Oaks to provide residents with information about possible homeless shelter and housing sites. One attendee cited the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as an example of how the federal government can—and should—step in and move a group of people out of urban areas. This is just the latest reprehensible example of individuals referencing one of the most shameful chapters in American history to try to justify discriminatory and exclusionary behavior today. The Japanese American National Museum condemns any actions or proposed actions that unfairly target any group, especially when the tragedy that people of Japanese ancestry endured in the 1940s is offered as a precedent or rationale for hateful behavior.

We commend Councilman Ryu for speaking out against this, for recognizing its illegality, and affirming that the rights of those who are experiencing homelessness must be protected. The museum appreciates that he clearly refuted the outrageous proposal of one of his constituents.

Some 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry were unlawfully incarcerated during World War II. In 1982, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that the policy of exclusion, removal, and detention was systematically conducted by the United States government despite the fact that no documented evidence of espionage or sabotage was shown, and there was no direct military necessity for detention. Further, the broad historical causes were found to be “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” These findings ultimately contributed to the United States government issuing a formal apology and paying reparations to the Japanese Americans it had forcibly removed to concentration camps—the tangible results of the bipartisan passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.


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About the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)
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 80 exhibitions onsite and traveled 20 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.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. General admission is $12 adults, $6 students and seniors, free for members and children under age five. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Monday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit or call 213.625.0414.