To commemorate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May, the Museum will be hosting a free student webinar in relation to our latest special exhibit: From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII. During the program, students will learn about the forced incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans in remote camps for the duration of WWII, especially focused on the experiences of Nisei students who abruptly became prisoners at a young age.
Images from the 1944 Resume yearbook from Rohwer Center High School
Brian Komei Dempster
Students will have the opportunity to interact with curator Kim Guise, as she showcases some of her favorite artifacts from the exhibit. Viewers will examine a camp high school yearbook and images of school, social and home life for the young Nisei prisoners. They’ll also meet poet, professor and editor Brian Komei Dempster, who helps former camp prisoners record and compose their incarceration and resettlement stories. Dempster also uses this time period as creative inspiration, and just released his debut poetry anthology, Topaz, reflecting on his own family’s incarceration experiences. He will share a selection of his poems, and the meaning behind these poignant pieces tied to his family’s history.
At the end of the program, the Museum and Dempster will introduce a poetry prompt for student viewers, to craft their own creative piece based on what they learned in the program. The theme of the prompt will be based upon Japanese Americans leaving behind prized family possessions before their forced removal, and the uncertainty and sadness of loss. Select student poems will be featured on the Museum’s blog!
Students will be able to ask questions of both presenters during the program. Teachers will receive curriculum materials after registration, including a lesson plan with a selection of stories from camp prisoners and Dempster’s poetry. Space is limited for the May 9th program at 12:00PM CT, so register today!
Jimmy Kanaya in his Army uniform. Courtesy of Jimmie Kanaya. June 1945, Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.
The Museum’s new special exhibit, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII, explores two important aspects of Japanese American life during the war: life within the internment or incarceration camps on the American Home Front, and the heroic contributions of Japanese American soldiers on European battlefields and in the Pacific Theater. There are ways to bring this content into the classroom, even if teachers and schools cannot visit the exhibit in person at the Museum. Some of the artifacts and stories in the physical exhibit have been digitized and are accessible through the From Barbed Wire to Battlefields exhibit website at http://barbedwiretobattlefields.org.
A great way to supplement or enhance your school’s or state’s WWII curriculum is through the use of oral histories. Oral histories, such as those contained within the Voices from the Battlefield: Japanese Americans in Servicesection, are a compelling way to make history come alive for students. Not only do most people tend to connect with and remember personal stories, but oral histories help to make larger, more abstract topics like the policy of Japanese American internment more accessible to learners of all ages. A case in point is the personal story of Jimmie Kanaya, who served as a medic for the all Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team before he was captured and placed in German POW camps. Kanaya’s individual experiences, and those of his family, illustrate the emotional challenges and dilemmas that many people of Japanese descent faced in the United States after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Kanaya, who was already in the Army when the Pearl Harbor attack took place, vividly recounted his experience of going on military leave to visit his family who were temporarily living in horse stalls at the Portland Stockyards Assembly Center in Oregon. Despite the fact that he was an enlisted soldier, the Military Police on duty at the Assembly Center would not let Kanaya back inside the facility to say goodbye to his parents or to help them move to the internment camp. Like other American soldiers of Japanese heritage during WWII, Kanaya felt the tension inherent in the complex choice to fight on behalf of the same country that had interned one’s family and neighbors, and the desire to serve in the military to prove one’s loyalty as an American citizen.
Interviews with other members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team like Daniel Inouye and George Sakato, and Japanese language translators who were in the Military Intelligence Servicealso reveal a variety of motivations behind volunteering to fight for America. Despite discriminatory treatment in the military and at home, many veterans shared Norman Ikari’s conviction that the United States was, at its core, still a country that believed “in such basic human principles [as] liberty, equal treatment [and] tolerance to the people that live here.” Over twenty Japanese American soldiers, including Inouye and Sakato, eventually received the Medal of Honor in 2000, over 55 years after their courageous actions and leadership during WWII. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team gained national fame and respect for their bravery, becoming the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in U.S. military history.
March 25th is designated National Medal of Honor Day, chosen because it was on that day in 1863 that the first six Medals of Honor were awarded.
On 18 March 2014, President Obama awarded 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for their service. The medals were a result of an investigation into discrimination in the awarding of the nation’s highest combat award. Regarding the event, President Obama noted, “No nation is perfect. But here in America, we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal.” Of those presented with the medal of Honor by President Obama were seventeen Latinos, one African American and one Jewish soldier. Seven of the 24 medals were awarded, all posthumously, for service in World War II to: Private Pedro Cano, Private Joe Gandara, Private First Class Salvador J. Lara, Sergeant William F. Leonard, Staff Sergeant Manuel V. Mendoza, Sergeant Alfred B. Nietzel, and First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab.
Yeiki Kobashigawa was one of 22 Asian American veterans who had medals upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000. Mr. Kobashigawa was one of seven still alive to receive the medal in a White House ceremony with President Clinton. Kobashigawa has since died, in 2005, and his family has generously loaned the Museum his Medal of Honor for our special exhibit From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: American Experiences in WWII. Kobashigawa’s Medal of Honor can be viewed through October 12 along with sixteen pieces from the Smithsonian’s collection; pieces from the Museum of World War II, Boston; and pieces from the private collections of David Furukawa and Jimmie Kanaya.
Exhibit Opening and Meet the Author Event In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese
Americans During the Internment by Shizue Seigel
Thursday, March 20, 2014
5:00 pm Exhibit Viewing and Opening Reception | 6:00 pm Meet the Author Presentation
6:30 pm Book Signing and Additional Exhibit Viewing
Joe W. and D. D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery
Would you dare to defend your nation while others like you, possibly even your own family, are confined behind barbed wire within that same nation for reasons of ancestry alone? More than 33,000 Japanese Americans did just that. A new special exhibit at The National WWII Museum will showcase some of their stories.
From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII includes artifacts, oral histories and stark images depicting the hardships faced by those Americans of Japanese ancestry suspected of sympathizing with the enemy and discriminated against because of their heritage. The exhibit will also honor the heroics of those Japanese Americans who overcame adversity and helped to secure American victory on the battlefields.
Meet the Author
Solomon Victory Theater
After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States was gripped by fear, anger and racial prejudice. In the name of national security, 120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned. Not a single one was ever found guilty of espionage or sabotage. In Good Conscience explores the relatively few Americans who recognized at the time that the United States government was committing a great wrong. Author Shizue Seigel sketches vivid portraits of two dozen teachers, ministers and just plain folks who advocated for the Japanese Americans in the media, worked in the internment camps, safeguarded their property or helped them start new lives after leaving the camps. In Good Conscience brings new insight into what transforms ordinary people into extraordinary advocates for justice and compassion. Co-sponsored by the Japan Society of New Orleans. A light reception will precede the event. For more information call 504-528-1944 x 333.
Book Discussion Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Stage Door Canteen
Discuss with fellow readers the story the Los Angeles Times called “Haunting…. A whodunit complete with courtroom maneuvering and surprising turns of evidence and at the same time a mystery, something altogether richer and deeper.” In 1954, a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. See how the echoes of the past cloud the present and affect the future. Come prepared to ask questions and discuss the novel with participants and Museum staff.
This event is free and open to the public. RSVP now.
Meet the Author and Book Signing Event Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II edited by Eric L. Muller
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Stage Door Canteen
In 1942, Bill Manbo (1908–1992) and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into the War Relocation Center at Heart Mountain in Wyoming. While there, Manbo documented both the bleakness and beauty of his surroundings, using Kodachrome film, a technology then just seven years old, to capture community celebrations and to record his family’s struggle to maintain a normal life under the harsh conditions of racial imprisonment. Colors of Confinement showcases 65 stunning images from this extremely rare collection of color photographs, presented along with three interpretive essays by leading scholars and a reflective, personal essay by a former Heart Mountain internee. Eric Muller presents. RSVP now.
30th Anniversary Screening of The Karate Kid
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
The Karate Kid is a 1984 film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita and Elisabeth Shue. It was a commercial success upon release, and garnered favorable critical acclaim, earning Morita an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Morita, who was, himself, a child internee at Gila River Relocation Center, plays Mr. Miyagi, veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who befriends Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso and teaches him karate. RSVP now.
Meet the Author and Book Signing Event Tom Graves presents Twice Heroes: America’s Nisei Veterans of WWII and Korea Thursday, August 7, 2014 5:00 pm Stage Door Canteen
In their own words, Nisei veterans recount their battles against wartime suspicion and racism, and of overcoming them with courage and patriotism. Writer and photographer Tom Graves spent a decade with the Nisei (Japanese American) soldiers of World War II and the Korean War, determined to share their unlikely story. At first denigrated and mistrusted, Nisei veterans — now in their 80s and 90s — earned the praise of a nation, and ultimately, a Congressional Gold Medal. The most decorated US military unit in history, they fought while their families were interned in bleak American prison camps during World War II. Twice Heroes earned the prestigious 2014 Benjamin Franklin Award in History. RSVP now.
Special Presentation “Challenging Internment”
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Stage Door Canteen
Hiroko Kusuda, Associate Clinic Professor at Loyola New Orleans College of Law will present on one of her first client experiences, a legal case involving Japanese American incarceration and redress. RSVP now.
Meet the Author The Art of Gaman by Delphine Hirasuna
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Stage Door Canteen
During World War II, the 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were ordered into barbed-wire enclosed internment camps, allowed to bring only what they could carry. The Art of Gaman relates how the internees practiced the discipline of gaman enduring the seemingly impossible with patience and dignity by creating objects of beauty and utility out of scrap and found materials. The objects stand as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Author Delphine Hirasuna presents. RSVP now.
Documentary Screening Good Luck Soup
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Solomon Victory Theater
The Midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio, is the setting for this contemporary Japanese American story. Told from the perspective of 29-year-old filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi, Good Luck Soup is a personal documentary that reveals the post-internment camp lives of Japanese Americans in the American Midwest through the dynamic relationship of Matthew and his grandmother, Eva Hashiguchi, a victim of the World War II Japanese American Internment Camps. RSVP now.
On 19 February 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (EO9066), giving the War Department the power to declare any part of the country a restricted military zone and the power to exclude “any or all persons” from such an area. Although the order did not mention a specific population, most assumed it referred to Japanese Americans. In the last weeks of March, “Civilian Exclusion Orders,” like the one picture above, were posted for all those of Japanese ancestry within the states along the West Coast: Washington, Oregon, California and southern Arizona.
Seventy years ago, these fourth graders set up a cooperative valentine store in the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas.
The original caption states: “Jerome Relocation Center, Dermott, Arkansas. Fourth grade children at Jerome, with the help of their teacher, Miss Era Nixon and the Communtity Cooperative Association, planned and operated a cooperative valentine store. There were many details to attend to – purchasing the valentines, decorating the store, assigning salespeople, advertising. Business boomed and over 8,000 valentines were sold enabling each child to realize a profit of 40 cents on his original investment of 63 cents.”
Jerome was one of ten facilities where people of Japanese ancestry, predominantly American citizens were imprisoned during WWII.
Today several states are celebrating Fred Korematsu Day. Established first in 2011, “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties & the Constitution” honors the legacy of Fred Korematsu, who resisted to the Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Instead of reporting to authorities in early 1942 for removal outside of the Exclusion Zone established by the government, the 23 year old welder stayed in Oakland with his Italian American girlfriend and even had plastic surgery on his eyes in an attempt to avoid recognition. He was arrested in May 1942 and eventually sent to Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah. Working with the American Civil Liberties Union, Korematsu sued the government challenging the imprisonment without trial of Japanese Americans. They appealed their case all the way to the Supreme Court, which, ultimately rejected Korematsu’s argument in a 6-to-3 decision that still stands, upholding the government’s right to intern its citizens. Although in recent decades, Korematsu has become a figure of resistance and standing up for civil liberties (he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1998), the Supreme Court’s 1944 ruling in Korematsu v. United States has never been overruled. To learn more about Korematsu, visit the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Liberties and Education.
New Year’s Eve celebration, Topaz 1945. Courtesy of the National Archives, 210-G-4H590
The original caption for this images read: “Topaz, Utah. Evacuees celebrate New Year’s Eve. Japanese Americans at Central Utah Relocation Center celebrated reopening of the west coast with a big New Year’s Eve party. Joseph Aoki portrays Father Time and his son Tommy, Baby New Year.”
Topaz was one of ten confinement sites where roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans were held behind barbed wire during the war. Topaz housed over 11,000 people from opening in September 1942 until its closing in October 1945.
In the new year, from 15 March to 12 October 2014, we will feature Topaz and the other camps in the special exhibit, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII, in the Joe W. and D. D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery. Using artifacts, oral histories, and stark images, it will depict the hardships faced by those Americans of Japanese ancestry that were suspected of sympathizing with the enemy and were discriminated against because of their heritage. It will also honor the heroics of those Japanese Americans who overcame adversity and helped to secure American victory on the battlefields.
Seventy-two years ago this month, Japanese forces conducted a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. The anniversary of this event provides us with an opportunity to explore how the United States government used Pearl Harbor in its propaganda. Imagery, powerful statements and emotional appeals rallied Americans to join the fight against the Axis Powers. A closer look at two propaganda posters featuring Pearl Harbor is a great way to learn more about American motivations for fighting in World War II and the use of successful propaganda techniques for gaining public support.
The Office of War Information (OWI) was established in June 1942 to create and oversee programs that were designed to promote an “understanding of the status and progress of the war effort and of war policies, activities, and aims of the U.S. government.” Pearl Harbor was a popular topic, and OWI produced many propaganda posters that evoked this event to stir patriotic feeling. One of the most powerful depictions of the attack was this poster, “Remember Dec. 7th!” (below)
This dramatic poster features a tattered flag at half-mast against a background of smoke and flames, caused by the dropping of Japanese bombs on U.S. Navy ships and base installations. The image is heightened by a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address delivered in 1863. Many Americans would have recognized the origin of these famous words and identified positively with the sentiment behind Lincoln’s words (that the country would continue to honor the heroic men who died by fighting to win the war and avenge their deaths) and connected this feeling to support the current cause (fighting for victory in WWII).
This propaganda technique is known as “transfer.” The propagandist wants to transfer the importance, power, or approval of something that we respect and accept to something else that they want us to endorse. Find out about more propaganda techniques here.
Now, take a look at these two posters and try to answer the following questions.
Describe what you see.
How do the images make you feel? Why?
What words are used? Why do you think these specific words were chosen?
Who do you think the intended audience was? How can you tell?
What kind of action was the audience supposed to take?
What kinds of propaganda techniques are used? How can you tell? (Remember, more than one kind of technique can be used at once.)
Compare each poster to “Remember Dec. 7th!” How are they different from it? Similar to it?
What can each of these posters tell us about the importance of Pearl Harbor during World War II as well as about the use of propaganda during the time period?
World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum’s “Bob Hope: An American Treasure” to open at National WWII Museum, Traveling exhibition highlights Hope’s military ties
The National WWII Museum is pleased to announce that on Saturday, August 3, a traveling exhibit celebrating legendary entertainer Bob Hope will open to the public.
Bob Hope entertained US troops at locations around the globe during World War II. The image of Hope walking on stage with a golf club at one of his many USO shows is a cherished memory for millions of Americans, especially military veterans. Those days will be revisited when the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum brings the Bob Hope: An American Treasure traveling exhibition to The National WWII Museum.
Created with the generous support of the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, the exhibition highlights several aspects of Hope’s life, including his extraordinary relationship with the US Armed Forces. The exhibition will be on display in the Joe W. and D.D. Brown Special Exhibit Gallery inside the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion through October 27.
“I know my Dad would be proud to have his exhibit available to visitors at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, one of his favorite cities,” said Linda Hope, daughter of the entertainer. “The men and women who served during that war had a special place in his heart. Their spirit and love of our country never ceased to inspire him. We hope that the visitors to the Museum and those who see this exhibition will enjoy it and hopefully it will trigger some special memories.”
Bob Hope: An American Treasure features more than 160 artifacts, including Hope’s Congressional Gold Medal, honorary Oscar statuette, Honorary Veterans citation and PGA of America money clip. More than 200 vintage photos and seven video displays tell the story of Hope’s early years as a member of an immigrant family in the early 20th century, his rise as a star of stage, screen and radio, his devotion to US military personnel, his relationships with US presidents and his love of golf.
“When touring the Middle East with the USO, we, the performers, would often say ‘now I know how Bob Hope felt,'” said Victoria Reed, director of entertainment for The Stage Door Canteen at The National WWII Museum. “He was the pioneer for carrying out this amazing tradition, the king of the morale boosters.”
“My grandfather discovered the greatness of the military audience in 1941. At the time, he joked that they were, ‘an audience so ready for laughter, it made what we did for a living feel like stealing money,'” said Miranda Hope, granddaughter of the entertainer. “But he truly loved the men and women who defended this country and took pride that his performances spelled, more than anything else, ‘home.’ He was their favorite comedian, they were his favorite audience, and it was a love affair that lasted more than six decades.”
The Museum will host an opening reception on Thursday, August 1, starting at 5:30 pm. Miranda Hope will speak briefly about her famous grandfather, followed by the opportunity for questions. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are appreciated and can be made at 504-528-1944 x 226.
“Bob’s relationship with the military is legendary and we’re delighted to bring this exhibition to The National World War II Museum,” said Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “We’re also pleased to share Bob’s love of the game with the great golf fans in New Orleans. We must thank the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation for its support in bringing this exhibition to another new audience.”
Access to the exhibit is included with standard Museum admission. For more information, including photos, about Bob Hope: An American Treasure, visit www.nationalww2museum.org.
As the Founding Partner of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum and World Golf Village, Shell Oil Company played a lead role in supporting the development and growth of the institution, which opened in 1998. Since then, Shell Oil’s continued involvement has led the way for others to join in support of the Hall of Fame & Museum’s mission.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum preserves and honors the history of golf and the legacies of those who have made it great. The Hall of Fame and Museum, located at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL., serves as a steward of the game through engaging, interactive storytelling and exhibitions featuring artifacts, works of art, audio, video and photography significant to the history of golf and its members.
The Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution and is allied with 26 national and international golf organizations, including The European Tour, LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A and USGA. To learn more about the Hall of Fame or to lend support, visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.