2015 JACL Teacher Training Workshop to be Held at Fort Snelling

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Education Committee is pleased to offer a Teacher Training Workshop, Japanese American Incarceration: Constitutional Vigilance in Times of Crisis, on April 24, 2015. This Workshop will connect the constitutional crisis created by the indefinite detention of West Coast Japanese Americans during World War II with current events precipitated by the attacks on 9/11. Several Minnesota Academic Standards for Grades 6, 7 and 9-12 will be addressed with concrete lesson plans.

To learn more and register for this free workshop, please click here. Please email the completed form to teacherworkshop@jacl.org.

Those who participate in the Workshop may request substitute teacher reimbursement up to $110. Participants will receive resource materials, a Certificate of Attendance and may earn Continuing Education Credit.

After the Workshop, the local Twin Cities Chapter JACL’s Education Committee is available to support educational efforts on this and related topics with a lending library and speakers bureau. Upcoming planned events include a Spring, 2015 photo exhibit from NYC’s Ellis Island Museum which documents the efforts of thousands of Japanese American soldiers who received training as Japanese translators and interpreters at Fort Snelling during WWII.

The Workshop will be held at Historic Fort Snelling and, afterwards, an optional tour of the WWII Japanese language school site will be available.

Please circulate our invitation to educators (including librarians and curriculum specialists) who may register by submitting the attached form.

Questions may be addressed to Sally Sudo at ssudo@comcast.net or 952-835-7374.

Thank you for you helping us to bring our workshop to the attention of educators in your area.

Twin Cities JACL Education Committee 2014 Year in Review

This year has been another productive year for the Twin Cities JACL Education Committee. Below is an update of our committee’s activities since last year’s banquet.

Speaker Requests

Our committee filled the following requests for speakers:

  • December 16, 2013 – Two classes at Century Middle School in Lakeville, MN
  • March 11, 2014 – Christ’s Household of Faith School in St. Paul, MN in Pamela Alsbury’s 10th grade American History class
  • March 20, 2014 – North Mankato Taylor Library for “One Book, One Community,” the first of a series of Community Read events centered around When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka
  • May 9, 2014 – Charaka Community Support Program in Bloomington, MN
  • May 22 and 28, 2014 – Six classes of 6th grade students at Pioneer Ridge Middle School, Chaska, MN
  • May 29, 2014 – U.S. Attorney’s Group at the Federal Building in Minneapolis, MN
  • September 30, 2014 – Seven AP Literature classes at Irondale High School, New Brighton, MN. Students were studying the book When the Emperor Was Divine
  • November 3, 2014 – New Sociables Women’s Organization in Apple Valley, MN
Christ’s Household of Faith Grade 10 American History Class
Christ’s Household of Faith Grade 10 American History Class
North Mankato Taylor Library
North Mankato Taylor Library
Pioneer Ridge Middle School, Teachers: Cindy Johnson and Nancy Hauser
Pioneer Ridge Middle School, Teachers: Cindy Johnson and Nancy Hauser
Katherine Buzicky, Attorney, U.S. Attorneys District of Minnesota
Katherine Buzicky, Attorney, U.S. Attorneys District of Minnesota
Teacher Pamela Alsbury with students
Teacher Pamela Alsbury with students
Teacher Steve Cox with students
Teacher Steve Cox with students

National History Day

We provided assistance to the following students with their National History Day projects:

  • March 11, 2014 – Three 10th grade students at Christ’s Household of Faith School in St. Paul, MN. Anders Strandlund, Wynston Harms, and Tim Rohlf received Honorable Mention at the state competition in the senior group documentary category for their video titled, “Behind Barbed Wire: Violations of Japanese Americans’ Civil Rights During World War II.”
  • March 25, 2014 – Three 7th grade students, Kashia Yang, Solomon Xiong and Andrew Hoang, students of Steve Cox at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, MN for their junior group documentary project.
  • June 1, 2014 – Mary Jo Dalsin, 7th grader from St. Wenceslaus School in New Prague, MN. She went on to win 3rd place in the Junior Individual Documentary category at the National History Day Contest in Washington, D.C. for her documentary film titled, “Japanese Internment Camps: Rights, Responsibilities, and Reparations.” Her video can be viewed at: http://www.tcjacl.org/archives/619
Seventh grader, Mary Jo Dalsin, from New Prague, Minnesota, at the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C., with her 3rd place medal in the junior individual documentary division for her video on the Japanese American Internment during World War II.  Photo credit:  Emily Dalsin.
Seventh grader, Mary Jo Dalsin, from New Prague, Minnesota, at the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C., with her 3rd place medal in the junior individual documentary division for her video on the Japanese American Internment during World War II.  Photo credit:  Emily Dalsin.

Other Committee Activities

  • Participated in the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies and Great Lakes Area 2014 Annual Conference held on March 11, 2014 at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington. Staffed an information booth and distributed free copies of our committee’s teaching curriculum on the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Language School. Also distributed complimentary copies of the JACL National Education Committee curriculum and resource guide. Supported by a grant from the JACL Legacy Fund.
  • Participated in “Many Stories, Many Perspectives: A Community Conversation” to help shape the future of Historic Fort Snelling, held on October 9, 2014 at Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center. Since the Military Intelligence Service Language School was relocated during World War II from the Presidio in San Francisco, CA, to Camp Savage, MN, then to Fort Snelling, our committee felt that input from our community is vital to ensure that the MIS story continues to be told. Nearly 6,000 Nisei soldiers received intensive and accelerated training in the Japanese language in Minnesota. After training, these soldiers served in the Pacific Theater of Operations as translators, interpreters, and interrogators, and their work is credited with shortening the Pacific War by two years. After the war, MIS soldiers served during the Occupation of Japan in the war tribunals and during the rebuilding process.
  • On December 31, 2013, our committee met with Eric Saul, curator of the exhibit, “Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts.” We have been meeting with staff from the Minnesota Historical Society and the National Japanese American Historical Society about bringing the exhibit to our area. The exhibit is scheduled to open in April 2015 at the historic Ft. Snelling Visitors Center.
  • The Twin Cities is one of five sites selected for a Teacher Training Workshop on “The U.S. Constitution in Times of Crisis,” presented by the National JACL Education Committee with funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program. Our committee is hosting the workshop, scheduled on April 24, 2015 at the Historic Ft. Snelling Visitors Center, St. Paul, MN.

Educational Resource Collection

We added several resource materials to our collection donated from the estate of Tom and Reiko Ohno. For a complete list of videos/DVDs, books, teacher guides and other resource materials, visit: http://www.tcjacl.org/education/materials.


The Education Fund received donations given in memory of Reiko Ohno from Carolyn Nayematsu and Vincent Platt, Al and Kay Yamamoto, Joyce Yamamoto and Steve Markgraf, and George and Judy Murakami.

Committee Members

Members of the Twin Cities JACL Education Committee are: Sally Sudo (co-chair), Carolyn Nayematsu (co-chair), Janet Maeda Carlson, Sylvia Farrells, Lil Grothe, Cheryl Hirata-Dulas, Lucy Kirihara, Gloria Kumagai, Karen Tanaka Lucas, and Matthew Walters. For more information, contact Sally Sudo at 952-835-7374 or ssudo@comcast.net.

2014 Summer Picnic

Everyone enjoyed the perfect weather during the annual summer picnic on August 3.  About 60-70 people attended; one family had four generations! The kids’ games included candy pickup with chopsticks (actually tongs) and a three legged race with their designated grownup. The water balloon toss made sure every participant was wet, wet, wet.  No time for the Third Annual Twin Cities JACL Summer Picnic Quiz this year; come and try it next year!

Photos courtesy of Cheryl Hirata-Dulas.

Education Committee Assists Student with 2014 National History Day Project

Photo: Seventh grader, Mary Jo Dalsin, from New Prague, Minnesota, at the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C., with her 3rd place medal in the junior individual documentary division for her video on the Japanese American Internment during World War II. Photo credit: Emily Dalsin.

Every year the Twin Cities JACL Education Committee receives requests from students who are participating in the National History Day competition. The requests include using resource materials from the chapter’s extensive collection, oral history interviews, or advice and feedback on their projects.

National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research. Students work individually or in groups conducting primary and secondary research around an umbrella topic. The theme for 2014 was Rights and Responsibilities in History. This year about 600,000 students, 6th–12th graders from across the United States, America Samoa, Guam, International Schools, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe and Asia participated in the competition.

Over the past several years the Twin Cities JACL has had students win awards at the local, regional, and state level, but not until this year has a student received an award at the national competition held in Washington, D.C. In June, Mary Jo Dalsin, a 7th grader at St. Wenceslaus School in New Prague, MN, about 40 miles from the Twin Cities, was awarded third place in the junior individual documentary division for her 10 minute video titled, “Japanese Internment: Rights, Responsibilities, and Reparations.” She interviewed TC JACL Education Committee chair, Sally Sudo, for inclusion in her documentary. “It is always interesting to see how students are able to incorporate the Japanese American World War II experience into the History Day theme,” stated Sudo. “The TC JACL heartily congratulates Mary Jo for her efforts and fine work.”

Mary Jo’s mother, Emily Dalsin, describes her experience during the national competition as follows: “Each student is given a 20 minute timeslot for presenting her project. Documentary students begin their presentation by giving each of the three judges a written 500 word essay on their topic and an annotated bibliography. The judges read the written information, and then the student plays her ten-minute documentary. After the documentary ends, the judges interview the student. The interview/ question portion of the program takes about 5 – 7 minutes during which the student is quizzed on many aspects of the project. During the interview, MJ was eloquent and educated. She answered the judges’ questions thoughtfully and with poise. We had been working with her all week to get her ready for the interview portion of the competition. I thought I had come up with every possible question, but I was wrong. At the end, one judge asked, ‘Where do you come down on this issue? How should the line between government responsibility for national security and citizens’ rights be drawn?’ My heart started beating a mile a minute. I didn’t even know if MJ had ever considered how she felt about this issue. She knew how others felt … but had she ever considered her own opinion? When she spoke, I almost fell over. She was clear, articulate, and thoughtful. She could have been a college freshman, not a 12 year old little girl as she spoke to her judges. I was beyond impressed! At that moment, I understood the strength of the NHD program. My kid was the expert, and she was telling a story that she knew inside and out. She kept the judges’ attention and provided details that I didn’t know she knew. I was so proud!”

View Mary Jo’s award-winning video below.

2014 Normandale Garden Festival

Lucy Kirihara & Margit Jordan at the Normandale Garden Boutique
Lucy Kirihara & Margit Jordan at the Normandale Garden Boutique

Who remembers the sukiyaki dinners? Those were some good times.

The Japanese Garden Committee held a festival on Saturday, June 14, in the new Normandale student center. While there was unfortunately no sukiyaki this time, there were delicious bentos, Japanese dance and taiko performances, origami demonstrations, and bazaar and informational booths.

Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM), the Normandale Japanese language program, and Bloomington Sister City Organization were just a few of the many exciting organizations present.

Unfortunately, the weather was stormy, which put a damper on the fun. Nevertheless, Kogen Taiko packed the auditorium for their epic final performance!

Gloria Kumagai, Karen Lucas & Lisa Shakerin at the Normandale Garden Boutique representing the JACL
Gloria Kumagai, Karen Lucas & Lisa Shakerin at the Normandale Garden Boutique representing the JACL

Gloria Kumagai, Lisa Shakerin, Karen Lucas, and Jan Monson graciously volunteered their time to represent JACL with a bazaar booth. Our booth offered items such as Koinobori wind vanes, bracelets, and charms.

We also introduced Ramune soda this year! I first had Ramune while studying abroad in Japan many years ago. It is a children’s beverage that tastes delicious and comes in a clear bottle with a glass marble lodged in the top. The plastic cap comes off and must be used as a plunger to push the marble into the bottle. It is a bit hard to describe, but very fun.

Many thanks to everyone who attended and volunteered for the event. I am looking forward to next year!

2014 High School Graduates Honored by JACL

Photo: Twin Cities JACL 2014 local senior high school (HS) scholarship awardees.

Front row (l-r):  Quinn Coyle, Blake School; Karen Edwards, Lakeville North HS; Megumi Rierson, Blake School; Shawn Ramberg, Math and Science Academy-Woodbury.  Back row (l-r):  Roy Ramstad, Cannon Falls HS; Vincent Belsito, Mounds View HS; Kyle Tsuchiya, Eden Prairie HS; and Matthew Dulas, Edina HS.  Not pictured:  Matthew Murakami, Eden Prairie HS.

Photo credit:  Cheryl Hirata-Dulas.

The Twin Cities JACL’s 51st Annual Scholarship Awards Program was held on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at The Chateau in Medicine Lake.

The evening began with dinner followed by greetings and introductions by JACL board representative, Dan Motoyoshi. Fred Tsuchiya acted as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Kyle Tsuchiya performed an original song on the snare drum during the program.

Scholarship awards totaled $17,000.00. The following scholarships were awarded:

  • Vincent Belsito, Dr. Norman Kushino and Kay Kushino Memorial Scholarship
  • Quinn Coyle, Reiko H. Ohno Memorial Scholarship
  • Matthew Dulas, Tom Ohno Memorial Scholarship
  • Karen Edwards, Annie Sakai Girard Memorial Scholarship
  • Matthew Murakami, Earl K. and Ruth Tanbara Memorial Scholarship
  • Shawn Ramberg, Tom and Martha Oye Memorial Scholarship
  • Roy Ramstad, Shigeko Kirihara Memorial Scholarship
  • Megumi Rierson, Tsuyano Sakai Memorial Scholarship
  • Kyle Tsuchiya, Susan Matsumoto Memorial Scholarship

Congratulations and best wishes to the 2014 graduates!

If you know of any 2015 high school graduates, please contact Pam Dagoberg at 763-557-2946 or dagob001@tc.umn.edu. Local scholarship applications will be sent in January. JACL membership is required of scholarship applicants. Some of the known 2015 high school graduates are: Maya Coyle (Blake School), Sam Hidani (Wayzata High School), Maddy Honda (Mounds Park Academy), Reed Morehouse (Buffalo High School), Leanna Sako (Bloomington Jefferson High School), C. Luke Soucy (Wayzata High School)

Super Senior Luncheon

Saturday, July 26th, 2014
11:30 a.m.

Hibachi Buffet
111 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN

Located 1 block west of 35W on the south side of East Lake Street.
There is a large parking lot specifically for the restaurant.

This is a good excuse to visit with your long-time friends in a community appreciation event!

***If you are 75 years of age or older (75 in 2014) you will be our guest free of charge. Nikkei Project, JACL and Twin Cities Buddhist Assn. members, spouses, relatives and friends under 75 years old are welcome to join us. Buffet lunch is $10.50 which includes beverage/tax/tip. Kids cost is less based on age.

For reservations call or email Todd Tsuchiya: 952-975-0047
Email: ttsuchiya@comcast.net

This event is co-sponsored once again by the Twin Cities JACL, Nikkei Project and the Twin Cities Buddhist Association

No individual invitations are being sent. Information is distributed by email, newsletters, flyers and word of mouth.

Please find the flyer here.