Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps,

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(from 50 Objects/Stories of American Japanese Incarceration)The connection between a WWII-era bag and prayer at a mosque

In light of the tragic events in New Zealand, we have chosen to delay the release of our next object and share this reflection.

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Amy Iwasaki Mass, 83, was invited with 50 Objects to speak at De Anza College in Cupertino last month for the school’s 17th Day of Remembrance. There was a crowd of more than 200 students, staff and faculty.

Amy brought the leather bag which her father had packed and made ready by the door in case the FBI came to arrest him. In 1942, she was seven years old. Every morning she would wake up and go to the door to see if his bag was still there.

After the presentation, three students were invited on stage to reflect on the program. The first question was, “what resonated with you the most in today’s program?” The first of the three to respond was a Pakistani Muslim American woman.

She said, “Amy’s father’s bag. Because when my father goes to the mosque, I don’t know if he’ll come back.”

Those words gave us the chills then. Today we are left with the fact that the same fear and hatred directed during WWII toward Japanese Americans and those who practiced a different religion, Buddhism, is again at work today.

We would like to share the words of a new congressional representative in Washington, D.C.

“Friends, Morning (Friday) is Jummah, the weekly day of worship for our community of Muslim friends and loved ones. Be there for them. Check in. Perhaps extend a kind gesture at your local mosque. There is so much fear and hate. We must negate it with active, courageous love.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY, 14th District

Thank you to Tom Izu, director of the California History Center’s Audrey Edna Butcher Civil Liberties Initiative at De Anza College and to Amy Iwasaki Mass.
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10,000 cranes in solidarity with detained families at the southern border -- help us fold !

On Sat. March 30, a Japanese American pilgrimage group will go the fence at the mass incarceration site at Dilley, Texas, and hang thousands of origami cranes to demonstrate solidarity with the women, children and separated families inside.

The South Texas Family Residential Center, an hour south of San Antonio, is a 2,400-bed facility, the largest such detention facility in the nation. Even infants are detained there; a week ago, 12 babies were released from ICE custody.


“We want children and families separated and incarcerated in detention sites or separated by the Muslim Travel Ban to know that Japanese Americans are fighting for them,” says Michael Ishii of New York, one of the pilgrims.

Will you help us fold?

Strings of "tsuru" cranes will be joined with others from across the country and the world. A donation of cranes is arriving from Japan.

They should be sent (last postmark March 23) to: Grassroots Leadership, 3121 E. 12th St., Austin, TX 78702. Please mark “cranes” on the package.

If you could please string them together, much appreciated!

Send us a photo of your crane-folding session and how many you’re sending so we can keep a tally! No number is too low. Every bird counts.

Let’s fold!

Join the Japanese American community in nonviolent protest on Sat. March 30, 2019 at 2 pm. South Texas Family Residential Center, 1925 W. Highway 85, Dilley TX.

Earlier in the day, the pilgrimage will visit the former Crystal City Internment Camp in south Texas, where thousands of American Japanese and Latin American Japanese were held during World War II.

Nonviolent protest co-sponsored by the Crystal City Pilgrimage Committee and Grassroots Leadership of Austin. Thank you for support from Friends of Crystal City.

Thank you Tamiko Nimura for getting things going in Tacoma, WA with ally volunteers at SAMI (Science and Math Institute)!

#stoprepeatinghistory #neveragainisnow #origami
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Cover photo of Bando Hiroshichiro, aka Nakamura Gankyo, telling the story of Bando Misa, later Bando Mitsusa, who taught over 140 students Japanese dance at Tule Lake Camp during WWII, at Day of Remembrance event at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on Feb. 24th. Hiroshichiro Sensei danced "Sakura" which was a dance choreographed by Mitsusa's teacher, in her honor...(photo by William Lee) ... See MoreSee Less

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