Community Songfest Fetes Retiring Manzanar NHS Superintendent Les Inafuku – Photos

Retiring Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Les Inafuku, shown here during the Community Songfest, at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles
on December 15, 2013.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — On December 15, a “Community Songfest,” honoring retiring Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Les Inafuku, and to raise funds for the reconstruction of Manzanar’s residential Block 14, which will include barracks, a mess hall, and more, was held at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

Sponsored by the Friends of Manzanar, the event featured musical performances by twelve different solo performers, duos or groups, including former Nisei Week Queens Lauren Kinkade Wong, and Erika Mariko Olsen.

Also featured were performances by Mary Kageyama Nomura, the “Songbird of Manzanar,” and folk singer/one-man band Ken Koshio.

Selected photos from the event, which was co-sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, may be viewed below.

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Community Songfest Fundraiser To Honor Manzanar NHS Superintendent Les Inafuku

The following is a press release from the Friends of Manzanar.


COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER: Event will also raise funds to complete reconstruction of demonstration block at Manzanar National Historic Site.

Manzanar National Historic Site
Superintendent Les Inafuku
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy National Park Service

LOS ANGELES — On November 5, the Friends of Manzanar announced that a Community Songfest, honoring retiring Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Les Inafuku, and to raise funds for the completion of Manzanar’s Block 14, will be held on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple’s (also known as Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple) Kaikan (Grand Hall), starting at 2:00 PM.

The Manzanar Committee, sponsors of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, and the more recent Manzanar At Dusk program, is a co-sponsor of the event.

Inafuku, who was named to the top post at Manzanar NHS in September 2008, became its first Japanese American superintendent since it became a National Historic Site in March 1992.

A 38-year veteran of the National Park Service, Inafuku will retire in January after serving at sites in Hawaii, Wyoming, and Alaska, prior to his work at Manzanar NHS.

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“Speaking Of Camp” Event – Photos, Video

This article was originally published on December 16, 2012. It has been updated to include video from the event.


Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II are shown here telling their
stories at Speaking Of Camp, an event held at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Center in Los Angeles’ Little Toyko, on December 1, 2012.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Alan Broch

LOS ANGELES — On December 1, 2012, the Friends of Manzanar sponsored Speaking Of Camp…, an event held at St. Francis Xavier Japanese Catholic Center (formerly Maryknoll/Japanese Catholic Center) in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

Co-sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, the event was part of an ongoing effort to capture the significance of individual stories of those who came through the World War II camp experience.

Videographers also recorded incarceree stories and memories of their days behind the barbed wire.

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43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage – VIDEO

Banners representing each of the ten American concentration camps where Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated during World War II are shown
here during the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 28, 2012, at the
Manzanar National Historic Site, in Calfornia’s Owens Valley.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

We’re very, very late with this, but video from the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, held on April 28, 2012, is now available.

The 2012 Pilgrimage included a performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko, remarks by Les Inafuku, Superintendent, Manzanar National Historic Site, and by Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. It also featured a keynote address by Mitchell T. Maki, author of Achieving The Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, remarks by Manzanar Committee member Pat Sakamoto, the presentation of the 2012 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award to Rose Ochi, and musical performances by Mary Kageyama Nomura, the Songbird of Manzanar, and by Ken Koshio, Nancy Gohata, Darrell Kunitomi and Keith Uchima.

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