Courage and Compassion Exhibit

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.

Traveling Exhibition

Exhibit Dates:  June 30 – September 3, 2018

Location: Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center, 200 Tower Avenue, St. Paul, MN; (612) 726-1171;

Cost:  Exhibit viewing is free and open to the public

Viewing hours:

Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, Sunday & Labor Day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Accompanying Programs

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.

  1. 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 

  1. Documentary Film Screening of “The Registry”

Date:  Saturday, July 14, 2018

Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Film Description

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.

  1. Documentary Film Screening of “Beyond the Barbed Wire: Japanese Americans in Minnesota

Date:  Saturday, August 11, 2018

Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Film Description

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.

  1. 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

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

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.

Media Contacts:


Pauline Yoshihashi

Strategic Communications, 323/683-8191 Direct

For Historic Fort Snelling

Lauren Peck,, 651-259-3137