Japanese American National Museum Store Online

The award-winning Museum Store of the Japanese American National Museum features distinctive Asian American merchandise for all occasions and generations. Their unique product line represents the essence of the Japanese American experience, while also promoting an appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity. All proceeds from the Museum Store support Museum programs and exhibitions.

The articles in this series were originally written for the Japanese American National Museum’s online store [janmstore.com]  to give a deeper understanding of the authors, artists, and traditions featured in the store. 

community en

City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950

In City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, author Professor Valerie Matsumoto has opened a time capsule in the vaults of American history, zeroing in on the lives of Nisei women in Los Angeles and their exploits of club and community involvements spanning three decades—prewar, World War II, and postwar.

City Girls chronicles the Nisei women’s roles as “markers of family respectability” and visible community representatives during a time replete with pervasive social and economic barriers. The unjust exclusionary practices of their times—observed at beaches, hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and schools—gave rise to ...

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identity en

Author Hiroshi Kashiwagi: From Togan Soup to Plums Can Wait and Beyond, the Life of an American

“Why was I, an American citizen, thrown in prison without cause, without due process? I had registered for the draft, as required of citizens of my age and sex in 1942; why were they questioning my loyalty now? How could they do that? … If they restored my status as a rightful citizen, let me go free, out of this prison, I would do anything required of me. Why should I answer the questions?”

Regarding the loyalty questionnaire, or registration, such were the thoughts of a bright young man forced to leave his life behind for insert-euphemism-here. No matter what the ...

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war en

Author Lane Hirabayashi: A Family Affair - Part 2

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Perhaps the most important takeaway that we can apply to our own lives is how Gordon practiced what he preached. Combined with his Quaker membership and his early roots observing the honesty and integrity of his parents and other cooperative members, Gordon masterfully walked the fine line of not only being unapologetic for his beliefs, but also not being disrespectful of others who either did not share his beliefs or complied with the WWII orders and joined the draft anyway. Evidenced by so many non-Japanese Americans to whom Gordon was so dear, to his interactions with prisoners ...

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war en

Author Lane Hirabayashi: A Family Affair - Part 1

“Let me add, however, that in refusing to register, I am well aware of the excellent qualities of the army and government personnel connected with the prosecution of this exclusion order. They are men of the finest type, and I sincerely appreciate their sympathetic and honest efforts. Nor do I intend to cast any shadow upon the Japanese and the other Nisei who have registered for evacuation. They have faced tragedy admirably. I am objecting to the principle of this order, which denies the rights of human beings, including citizens.”

 —Gordon Hirabayashi, May 13, 1942

This ability to separate the ...

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culture en

Author Mark H. Rawitsch: More Than Just a House

“I won’t sell. You can murder me, you can throw me into the sea, and I won’t sell.”

Mr. Jukichi Harada’s sharp yet courageous response was unlikely to be the type of exchange he envisioned carrying on with his American neighbors when he left Japan permanently in 1903, never to see his parents, brother, or sisters again. For Issei, such as Mr. Harada, who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship, owning a building or land became that much more significant in representing a long-term, if not permanent, stake in this country. Unfortunately, having the state of California ...

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