“Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience”
Twin Cities to Reveal Little-Known Stories of Bravery, Support in National Exhibition
The Twin Cities chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Historic Fort Snelling/Minnesota Historical Society are partnering to host “Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience,” a traveling exhibition sponsored by the nonprofit Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC). The exhibit chronicles the Japanese American experience during World War II, and features local and regional stories of bravery and extraordinary support of Japanese Americans. In addition to the main exhibit, the Twin Cities JACL Education Committee produced a local component that presents a myriad of little-known stories of Japanese American military service, community building, and civic engagement in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
This project is funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. Additional support is provided by the Earl K. and Ruth N. Tanbara Fund for Japanese American History in Minnesota.This exhibit covers events from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the fateful decision to incarcerate Japanese Americans in wartime camps to the postwar fight for redress. Visitors will learn about the Nisei (second-generation Japanese American) WWII experience and its legacy, engage with questions about what courage looks like during a time of crisis, and consider the relevance to today’s society.
Exhibit Dates: June 30 – September 3, 2018
Location: Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center, 200 Tower Avenue, St. Paul, MN; (612) 726-1171; mnhs.org/fortsnelling
Cost: Exhibit viewing is free and open to the public
Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday & Labor Day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Four programs will be held in conjunction with the exhibition. Program support is being provided by a grant from the Asian Pacific Endowment of The Saint Paul Foundation, the Twin Cities JACL(including the Les and Karen Suzukamo Fund, the Donald S. Maeda Fund, the Helen Tsuchiya Fund, the Mikio Kirihara Fund, Joyce Yoshimura-Rank and Brian Rank, Judy and George Murakami, and Rick Shiomi), The Institute for Advanced Study Research Collaborative – Historical Injustices, and the Talle Faculty Research Award, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota.
Programs will be held at Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center, 200 Tower Avenue, St. Paul, MN.
All programs are free and open to the public.
- Opening Reception
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2018
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
5:30 p.m. – Exhibit viewing in the gallery
6:00 p.m. – Program with speaker Mitchell Maki, Ph.D., President and CEO, Go For Broke National Education Center, Los Angeles, California
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – Exhibit viewing in the gallery and reception in the visitor center lobby
- Documentary Film Screening of “The Registry”
Date: Saturday, July 14, 2018
Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Through interviews with surviving veterans, The Registry uncovers the hidden history of the 6,000 Japanese American soldiers who served during World War II in the U.S. Armyʼs Military Intelligence Service (MIS), located at Camp Savage and later Fort Snelling in Minnesota.
Filmmakers Steve Ozone, Bill Kubota, and MIS veteran Edwin (Bud) Nakasone will be present for a post-film discussion, followed by a tour of the Fort Snelling Upper Post.
- Documentary Film Screening of “Beyond the Barbed Wire: Japanese Americans in Minnesota”
Date: Saturday, August 11, 2018
Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
This documentary is a part of the St. Olaf College’s digital humanities project, which aims to preserve and present the unique experiences of Japanese Americans who came to Minnesota during World War II. Interviews of Twin Cities JACL members are included. The film project is dedicated to unsung heroes, untold histories, and unforgettable stories.
The film screening will be followed by discussion with St. Olaf College Professor Ka Wong and his collaborators Hikari Sugisaki and Paul Sullivan.
- Public Lecture on “Japanese American Resettlement to St. Paul: The International Institute, the War Relocation Authority, and Ruth and Earl Tanbara”
Presented by Krista Finstad Hanson
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2018
Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Krista Finstad Hanson, a local writer, historian and teacher, will present her research findings about largely untold accounts of Japanese Americans’ efforts to begin their lives anew in St. Paul, MN, and the local people that aided these efforts during World War II.
Photograph was taken at New Year’s Eve at the YWCA in downtown St. Paul, 1942. Hosts are Earl (7th from the left) and Ruth Tanbara (4th from the left). The guests pictured are resettled Japanese American young women and Military Intelligence Service soldiers training at Fort Snelling. From Around the World In St. Paulby Alice Sickels, University of Minnesota Press, 1945.
About the Traveling Exhibition
From July 2017 through summer 2019, the exhibit is visiting 10 U.S. communities where citizens extended a helping hand to Japanese Americans during and after the end of WWII. Other community partners include: Willamette Heritage Center, Salem, Ore.; Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, Honolulu; the Kingsburg Historical Society, Kingsburg, Calif.; Oberlin College and Conservatory, Oberlin, Ohio; Monterey Japanese American Citizens League, Monterey, Calif.; History Department, Bradley University, Peoria, Ill.; Saint Marys School of Nursing Alumni Association and the History Center of Olmsted County, Rochester, MN; Chicago Japanese American Historical Society and Japanese American Service Committee, Chicago; and New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League, Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information and upcoming dates, please visit www.goforbroke.org/visit/traveling_exhibit/index.php.
About Go For Broke National Education Center
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that educates the public on the valor of Japanese American veterans of World War II and their contributions to democracy. Our goal is to inspire new generations to embody the Japanese American veterans’ core values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility and patriotism. Founded in 1989, GFBNEC maintains the Go For Broke Monument and the interactive “GFBNEC’s Defining Courage Exhibition” in downtown Los Angeles, as well as extensive oral histories and archives, education and training programs, and other initiatives. For more information, please visit www.goforbroke.org.
About Historic Fort Snelling
Historic Fort Snelling is located near the MSP airport at the intersection of Hwys. 5 and 55 overlooking the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Originally an 1820s Army outpost to protect U.S. interests in the fur trade, the fort and surrounding buildings were later used for military training from the Civil War through World War II. Human history in the area dates back at least 10,000 years. Historic Fort Snelling is Minnesota’s first National Historic Landmark.
About the NPS JACS Program
This project is funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. For more information regarding the JACS grant program, please contact Kara Miyagishima, Program Manager, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, NPS, at 303-969-2885.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 323/683-8191 Direct
For Historic Fort Snelling
Lauren Peck, email@example.com, 651-259-3137
Seventy-five years ago, 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, were racially profiled, surveilled, excluded, and imprisoned in American concentration camps. This unprecedented violation of constitutional rights was the direct result of racism, xenophobia, and misleading and unfounded governmental claims of “military necessity.” To the question, “Could it happen again?” we have our answer.
It’s happening now.
In this time of rising governmental authoritarianism, the Twin Cities Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (TC JACL) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota (CAIR-MN) stand in solidarity and declare our unity of purpose against racism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, and hate. We stand together in the common pursuit of global justice, civil liberties and human rights, hope, compassion, and love.
The legally sanctioned discrimination targeting Americans of Japanese descent during the World War II era mirrors the current demonization of all Muslims and the governmental legitimation of Islamophobia through executive orders and proposed legislation targeting Muslims, at home and abroad, with official acts of discrimination.
TC JACL and CAIR-MN stand together to resist the current forces of oppression that join our communities’ histories. These forces include:
- Racial, national origin, and religion-based profiling and discrimination;
- Stigmatizing and assuming “guilty until proven innocent” based on group membership/association without due process;
- Selective surveillance, invasion of privacy, and searches without warrants, based on race, national origin, or religion;
- Indefinite exclusion and detention of legal U.S. residents without charges and denial of the right to a speedy trial and representation in a court of law;
- Defining “American” as white, Christian, and non-foreign born, while demonizing non-white, non-Christian U.S. citizens, legal residents, and foreign nationals as non- or un-American “Others”;
- Official justification of the denial of civil liberties to American citizens and legal residents in the name of “homeland security” or “military necessity.”
While Japanese American and American Muslim histories and experiences are not identical, we share in a common and parallel struggle in seeking a just and inclusive future.
We will resist, oppose, defy, and intervene in any and all acts of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and oppression targeting our own and other marginalized and oppressed communities.
We will show up, stand up, speak up, and rise up together in the name of civil and human rights, and local, national, and global justice.
In heart, mind, and spirit, we will accompany one another, side by side, as equal partners, with no single organization or individual walking ahead or behind. Together, we will act and embody in the present the justice and humanity that we envision for all in the future.
In solidarity, justice, and peace,
Twin Cities Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League
Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota
Executive Order 13769: The Muslim ban
Executive Order 13769 was signed one week into the Trump presidency. The press has called this executive order the “Muslim ban,” since travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim majority nations alone were banned. The Trump Administration argued that people who are fleeing countries where there has been war and terrorism are more prone to commit terror acts because they look like those terrorists or share the same faith as those terrorists. EO 13769 authorizes targeted differential treatment to an entire population without any evidence of individual risk for criminality or wrongdoing. No immigrant from the seven countries listed on the ban has ever committed a terrorist act in the U.S.
Unlike EO 9066, EO 13769 did not create incarceration camps (it is more costly to put people into detention camps than to exclude or deport them). But similar to EO 9066, EO 13769 profiles an entire group based on race and ethnicity. Trump justified EO 13769 by comparing it to FDR’s EO 9066, and used the same “national security” rationale.
A challenge to EO 13769 was brought forth by the Attorney General’s office in Washington state whose 7,000 Muslim immigrants were affected by the ban. Minnesota has about 30,000 similarly affected Muslim immigrants, prompting our Attorney General, Lori Swanson, to join in the court challenge. One of the primary arguments used was the Supreme Court Case of Mitsuye Endo, which, in December 1944, legally ended the forced mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The courts ruled to block the “Muslim ban” from being implemented, but the Trump Administration signed a new executive order (EO 13780) which once again attempted to create a Muslim ban. This rewritten executive order, which was challenged by the state of Hawaii, has now been thwarted by an injunction issued by a federal court there.
In the wake of the Day of Remembrance and our chapter’s newly formed partnership with the Council on American Islamic Relations-Minnesota for that event, the Education Committee of the TCJACL sent a letter of support to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson for standing up to EO 13769, the contemporary equivalent of EO 9066.
We received a letter in response in which she wrote:
“I note that the (Japanese American Citizens) League and the Council (on American Islamic Relations) issued the joint statement on February 19, the Day of Remembrance. The forced removal and incarceration of Japanese-Americans in World War II is a dark mark on our nation’s history and stands as a stark and important reminder of the erosion of constitutional protections that can occur in response to perceived international threats.
“I thank you for your advocacy on the behalf of civil and human rights, individual freedom, and the bedrock constitutional principles of our nation.”
“I appreciate your ongoing commitment to upholding the core values of this country.”
Now is the time to be vigilant not only for our community’s civil and human rights but, as stated in the National JACL mission, for “all communities who are affected by injustice and bigotry.”
The Twin Cities JACL Education Committee
All events free and open to the public
Roger Shimomura Art Exhibit
Day of Remembrance Ceremony
Sunday, February 19, 2017
MN History Center Auditorium
345 Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN
(Reserve your seat by calling 651-259-3015
or online at mnhs.org/calendar)
Paul Kitagaki Photographs
Gambatte: Legacy of an Enduring Spirit
Historic Fort Snelling Visitors Center
200 Tower Ave. St. Paul, MN
Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Exhibit will run from 5/27 to 10/28/2017
Paul Kitagaki is a photo-journalist with the Sacramento Bee. He searched for those who were in Dorthea Lange’s iconic photographs of the Japanese American incarceration for his “then and now” exhibit.
All events sponsored by the Twin Cities Chapter Japanese American Citizens League in co-sponorship with the MN Historical Society and Macalester College.