Manzanar Committee Statement On The Passing Of Victor H. Shibata, One Of The Founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage

Victor H. Shibata (foreground left), one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage,
shown here ondo dancing during a 1970’s Pilgrimage, died on April 17, 2012
(click to view a larger image).
Photo: Karen Ishizuka

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Victor H. Shibata of Los Angeles, who died on April 17 from an apparent heart attack.

Shibata, 67, was one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, and of Yellow Brotherhood in the late Sixties, a self-help group based in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District that helped Asian American youth get off of drugs, and stay out of gangs. Read more of this post

Revisiting Camp and Community: A Consideration of Its Relevance for the 2012 Day of Remembrance at the Manzanar National Historic Site

Dr. Arthur A. Hansen, shown here delivering the keynote address at the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 26, 2008,
was a guest lecturer over President’s Day weekend at the
Manzanar National Historic Site, February 18-19, 2012.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

Dr. Arthur A. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies, California State University, Fullerton, was the guest lecturer at the Manzanar National Historic Site, February 18-19, 2012, when he discussed Manzanar in a local, Owens Valley-related context, while highlighting universal themes such as fear, friendship, loss, and loyalty. The lectures were held in honor of the Day of Remembrance.

Dr. Hansen has graciously shared his presentation with us.


by Dr. Arthur A. Hansen

As probably many of you here today are well aware, the year 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing on February 19, 1942, by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of Executive Order 9066. It was this presidential order that set in motion the forced mass eviction of over 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, or Nikkei—two-thirds of them U.S. citizens—from their West Coast homes and communities, and their subsequent incarceration in U S. Government-sanctioned confinement centers, such as the one here in the Owens Valley at this very Manzanar site. Read more of this post

Dancing With Grace – Gracious And Graceful

Editor’s Note: The following piece by Jenni Kuida, a tribute to former Manzanar Committee member Grace Harada, was originally published in January 2002, in the Rafu Shimpo, and on her family’s web site. She posted a link to her story on Facebook on January 18, commemorating the tenth anniversary of Harada’s passing. We thought it would be a fitting tribute to publish it here as well.


Former Manzanar Committee member Grace Harada (center), shown here with Jenni Kuida (left) and
Sue Kunitomi Embrey (right), who passed away in 2006.
Photo: Jenni Kuida

You might not have ever met Grace Harada. But if you’ve been to an Obon at Senshin Buddhist Temple or the Manzanar Pilgrimage in the last thirty years, chances are, you have surely seen her. She was the petite Nisei woman dancing Bon Odori in the inner circle, leading Sansei like me, trying to follow along in the outer circle. I would always seek her out when stumbling through the moves, because I knew that if I followed her, I’d be ok.

Sadly, she passed away on January 18 at age 76. Only one week earlier, she suffered from a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. Just like that. At the memorial service for Grace at Senshin Buddhist Temple, Reverend Mas Kodani spoke fondly of Grace, using the words “gracious” and “graceful” to describe Grace. He talked about how Grace loved to dance. She lived her life doing what she loved to do. She found true joy in dancing, and in teaching dance to others. Read more of this post

We Hate To See The Great Ones Go: Sue Kunitomi Embrey

Editor’s Note: As I was standing in front of the audience, relating my experiences with, and my deep admiration for, Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, at the July 17, 2011 event in which the Manzanar Committee honored her (see Manzanar Committee Lauds Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga With Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award On July 17, 2011), I could not help but think of former Manzanar Committee chair Sue Kunitomi Embrey, who passed away back in May 2006. The following is a piece I wrote about Sue that was published in the June 14, 2006 edition of the Rafu Shimpo.


Sue Kunitomi Embrey (center) listens intently during a small group session at the 2004 Manzanar At Dusk program, held at the VFW Hall in Independence, California.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

LOS ANGELES — As many in the Los Angeles Japanese American community as well as most anyone who has been even remotely involved with Manzanar know, Sue Kunitomi Embrey, chair of the Manzanar Committee, passed away on May 15, 2006, at the age of 83. When I learned of the news, I was reminded of a comment made at a press conference a couple of months ago where Los Angeles Kings superstar left wing Luc Robitaille announced his retirement. Read more of this post

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