Exploring Manzanar: Then and Now

One of the inscriptions in the wall of the Manzanar Reservoir written by a Japanese
American incarceree who worked on the reservoir crew.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

During a recent solo trip to Manzanar National Historic Site in which I spent about 14 hours over about two days exploring the site by car and foot, it dawned on me that it was the first time that I was exploring the site in such a detailed fashion or spending as much time doing so.

That realization was spurred by a comment made by Manzanar ranger Rose Masters.

“I can’t believe you’ve never wandered around like this before,” she exclaimed (yes, “exclaimed” is the appropriate verb here).

For those of you who know me fairly well, that must sound really, really strange, if not unbelievable. After all, I’ve been involved with Manzanar for more than 31 years. I’ve been a member of the Manzanar Committee since the mid-1990’s. I served on the Manzanar Advisory Commission from 1992-2002. I’ve been one of the coordinators for the Manzanar At Dusk program since 2008, and now I’m one of the coordinators of a project, tentatively named, Keeping Japanese American Incarceration Stories Alive, which I urge you to read about here.
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Manzanar To Host Pilgrimage Weekend Events, April 27-29, 2018

The following is a press release from the National Park Service.


To download a printable flyer,
click on the image above.
(Adobe Reader software required to view/print)

INDEPENDENCE, CA — Manzanar National Historic Site invites visitors to participate in a weekend of special events in conjunction with the Manzanar Committee’s 49th Annual Pilgrimage. All are welcome and the events are free. This year’s Pilgrimage coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided redress to Japanese Americans though a presidential apology and individual payment to all surviving former incarcerees.

Pilgrimage Weekend 2018 events begin Friday, April 27, with a public reception hosted by the Friends of Eastern California Museum from 4:00 to 6:00 PM The Eastern California Museum is located at 155 Grant Street in Independence (see map below). It features exhibits including Shiro and Mary Nomura’s Manzanar collection, the Anna and O.K. Kelly Gallery of Native American Life and exhibits on other facets of local and regional history. Eastern California Museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

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2018 Manzanar At Dusk Will Connect The Past With The Present

One of the small group discussions during the 2017 Manzanar At Dusk program
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee
(click above to view larger image)

LOS ANGELES — Sharing stories and experiences from the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II and connecting this history to present-day issues will be the focus of the 2018 Manzanar At Dusk program, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, scheduled from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Lone Pine High School gymnasium, located at 538 South Main Street (U.S. Highway 395), in Lone Pine, California, across the street from McDonald’s (see map below).

The Manzanar At Dusk program follows the 49th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage that same day, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles (see map below).

A performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko will open the Pilgrimage at 11:30 AM PDT, while the main portion of the program starts at 12:00 PM.

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Keeping Japanese American Incarceree Stories Alive – Pilot Project A Huge Success

Students listening to a presentation on the Manzanar “Riot.” Seated around the table (foreground,
from front to back): Erica Wei (left), Lauren Matsumoto (right), Brian Kohaya (back left),
Moet Kurakata (back middle), Maru Streets (back right).
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

by Jason Fujii and Wendi Yamashita

Last summer, the Manzanar Committee, in partnership with National Park Service staff at Manzanar National Historic Site, launched a new project, Keeping Japanese American Incarceration Stories Alive, to take college-age youth to the Manzanar National Historic Site for an intensive, place-based learning experience about the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Initiated by National Park Service Ranger Rose Masters and generously funded by community donations through a crowdfunding campaign, along with a few individual donations, this pilot project sought to address and bridge the generation gap—recent immigrant families from Japan and their children also have no direct connection to this history—that has made it difficult for young Japanese Americans to teach others about this important history.

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