Two Reflections on Visiting The Manzanar National Historic Site

During a session in which students read excerpts from oral histories of those who were unjustly
incarcerated at Manzanar during World War II, they began to connect Japanese American Incarceration
to their own experiences with racism, inequality and injustice. The result was a very powerful and emotional discussion. That’s Moet Kurakata and Lauren Matsumoto in front (left and right, respectively)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee
(click above to view larger image)

Editor’s Note: Moet Kurakata and Lauren Matsumoto were participants in the Manzanar Committee’s pilot project, Keeping Japanese American Incarceration Stories Alive, which took a group of college students to the Manzanar National Historic Site for a two-day, intensive, placed-based learning experience about the unjust incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. For more on this project, we urge you to read about it here.

Kurakata, 23 is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is the Community Activities and Cultural Awareness Committee Chair of the Nikkei Student Union at UCLA. Matsumoto, 21, is in her third year at the University of California, San Diego, where she is the past Cultural Awareness Chair of the UCSD Nikkei Student Union.

Both shared the following reflections on what they experienced at Manzanar during those two days.

Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post

Manzanar NHS To Host Public Archeology Project September 1-5, 2017

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’s award-winning public archeology program provides exceptional opportunities to learn about the past and help preserve the site and its stories for the future. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the 25th anniversary of Manzanar National Historic Site. In recognition of these significant milestones, Manzanar is hosting a public archeology project from September 1–5, 2017. Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to assist the National Park Service in uncovering and stabilizing Manzanar’s historic administration and staff housing area. Participants will learn about both the common and contrasting experiences of camp staff and incarcerees as well as the differences between Japanese landscaping aesthetics and “western” military-style landscaping.

Read more of this post

AUDIO: Interview with Manzanar NHS Interpretive Ranger Rose Masters

Park Rangers Alisa Lynch (left) and Rose Masters (right), part of the interpretive staff at Manzanar National Historic Site,
are shown here during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29, 2017.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Geri Ferguson/Manzanar Committee

We’re a little late with this, but on May 25, 2017, Gideon Culman, who publishes the K Street Coaching blog, interviewed Rose Masters, Park Ranger (interpretive staff), Manzanar National Historic Site, in a piece entitled, “Race Prejudice, War Hysteria, and a Failure of Political Leadership – Interview.”

The interview runs the gamut of Manzanar history and its stories; the Japanese American Incarceration experience and much more.

Read more of this post