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The 21st Century Museum: Significant artifacts selected by Japanese American National Museum Volunteers

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Japanese American National Museum staff and interns worked with volunteers to create a series of 30-second digital video shorts sharing the volunteer’s personal stories related to artifacts from the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community .

In this album, National Museum volunteers—Ike Hatchimonji, Charlene Takahashi, Icy Hasama, Marion Wada, Mary Karatsu, Hitoshi Sameshima, Bill Shishima, Nancee Iketani, Ben Tonooka, Pat Ishida, Bob Uragami, Babe Karasawa, Yae Aihara, Richard Murakami, Yoko Horimoto, Jim Tanaka, Tohru Isobe, Mas Yamashita, Robert Moriguchi, Kathryn Madara, Kent Hori, May Porter, Eileen Sakamoto, Lee Hayashi, and Roy Sakamoto—share their personal stories.

These video shorts were first developed with 2010 summer interns, Evan Kodani and Alexandra Giffen, as part of on-going volunteer sessions examining and re-envisioning the role the Museum will play in the 21st Century. They were created in conjunction with the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center.

We continued to add new video clips in this album through the Nisei Oral History Project.

Funding for the Nisei Oral History project was provided by grants from the National Park Service and the California State Library through the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

Support for volunteer programming was generously provided, in part, by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. The internships were provided through the Summer 2010 Getty Grants Program for Multicultural Undergraduate Internships to Los Angeles Area Museums & Visual Arts Organizations.

Slides in this album 

Ike Hatchimonji - Heart Mountain Barracks

JANM volunteer, Ike Hatchimonji, revisits a barrack from the Heart Mountain Concentration camp which he used to live right next door to during internment.

The 21st Century Museum: Ike Hatchimonji - Heart Mountain Barracks
Contributed by: JANM

Sharlene Takahashi - First Issei Citizenship Class

JANM volunteer, Sharlene Takahashi remembers the resilience and perseverance of her Grandmother Nomura who became a citizen at the age of 83.

The 21st Century Museum: Sharlene Takahashi - First Issei Citizenship Class
Contributed by: JANM

Icy Hasama - FBI Incarceration

On December 7, 1941 the life of a young boy was turned upside down. Icy Hasama recalls his experience of the FBI after the Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan.

The 21st Century Museum: Icy Hasama - FBI Incarceration
Contributed by: JANM

Marion Wada - Hershey's Chocolate Tin

Marion recalls fond memories from before the war, of how as children she and her siblings used to find the chocolate hidden by her parents.

The 21st Century Museum: Marion Wada - Hershey's Chocolate Tin
Contributed by: JANM

Mary Karatsu - Jimmy Doi

JANM Volunteer Mary Karatsu tells us Jimmy Doi's story of returning home from the war as a veteran. Only to have a difficult time of finding work and having to put in long hours as a baby chicken sexer.

The 21st Century Museum: Mary Karatsu - Jimmy Doi
Contributed by: JANM

Hitoshi Sameshima - Military Intelligence Service

Hitoshi Sameshima, a JANM docent and WWII veteran, talks about how Japanese American soldiers served in the Pacific Theatre during the war.

The 21st Century Museum: Hitoshi Sameshima - Military Intelligence Service
Contributed by: JANM

Bill Shishima - Boy Scouts of America

Bill Shishima, a JANM docent, remembers how important the Boy Scouts were during his life in camp.

The 21st Century Museum: Bill Shishima - Boy Scouts of America
Contributed by: JANM

Nancee Iketani - Changing identities

JANM Volunteer Nancee Iketani talks about how she changed her identity in order to avoid being discriminated against as a model.

The 21st Century Museum: Nancee Iketani - Changing identities
Contributed by: JANM

Ben Tonooka - Heart Mountain Barracks

JANM volunteer, Ben Tonooka remembers living in a barrack in Heart Mountain Wyoming.

The 21st Century Museum: Ben Tonooka - Heart Mountain Barracks
Contributed by: JANM

Pat Ishida - Farewell To Manzanar

JANM volunteer Pat Ishida tells us why the novel Farewell to Manzanar is an important artifact for museum visitors to connect with the past.

The 21st Century Museum: Pat Ishida - Farewell To Manzanar
Contributed by: JANM

Bob Uragami - Boy Scout Troop 64

JANM volunteer Bob Uragami tells the story of Boy Scout Troop 64 and how they had to change their image to be more American.

The 21st Century Museum: Bob Uragami - Boy Scout Troop 64
Contributed by: JANM

Babe Karasawa - The Munson Report

Japanese American National Museum's volunteer docent, Babe Karasawa recalls his gratitude to Michi Weglyn for her contribution to redress and the apology from President Ronald Reagan.

The 21st Century Museum: Babe Karasawa - The Munson Report
Contributed by: JANM

Yae Aihara - Crystal City Family Portrait

Japanese American National Museum volunteer, Yae Aihara, talks about the memories of her family and the time spent in Crystal City Detention center. How being a prisoner of war effected their life style and how despite adversity they managed to eat well.

The 21st Century Museum: Yae Aihara - Crystal City Family Portrait
Contributed by: JANM

Richard Murakami - Heart Mountain Barracks

Volunteer docent Richard Murakami chose a Heart Mountain Barrack from the Common Ground exhibition to explain why this barrack is significant to him, his family and community.

The 21st Century Museum: Richard Murakami - Heart Mountain Barracks
Contributed by: JANM

Yoko Horimoto - Kendo Display

Volunteer docent Yoko Horimoto talks about the Kendo display at the Japanese American National Museum and its connection to her personal history.

The 21st Century Museum: Yoko Horimoto - Kendo Display
Contributed by: JANM

Jim Tanaka - Sugar Beet Machete

Jim Tanaka, a volunteer docent at the Japanese American National Museum, talks about the "secret weapon" used to win World War II.

The 21st Century Museum: Jim Tanaka - Sugar Beet Machete
Contributed by: JANM

Tohru Isobe - Heart Mountain, Wyoming

Tohru Isobe, a volunteer docent at the Japanese American National Museum, reflects on being incarcerated in one of America's concentration camps during World War II.

The 21st Century Museum: Tohru Isobe - Heart Mountain, Wyoming
Contributed by: JANM

Mas Yamashita - Usu

Mas Yamashita, a volunteer docent at the Japanese American National Museum, talks about his favorite item in the museum's collection, the usu. The usu is central to the Japanese New Year tradition of making mochi.

The 21st Century Museum: Mas Yamashita - Usu
Contributed by: JANM

Robert Moriguchi - Family Portrait

Robert Moriguchi is a Wednesday & Saturday Group Tour Docent. He chose a family portrait from the Common Ground exhibition to explain a typical Japanese American family before World War II, stressing the importance of education.

The 21st Century Museum: Robert Moriguchi - Family Portrait
Contributed by: JANM

Kathryn Madara - Tuna Assembly Line

Kathryn Madara is Wednesday & Friday Group Tour Docent at the museum. The photo she chose shows Issei women working on a tuna assembly line on Terminal Island, an area near San Pedro, California. They were sent to concentration camps during World War II. After the war, residents were not allowed ...

The 21st Century Museum: Kathryn Madara - Tuna Assembly Line
Contributed by: JANM

Kent Hori - Bronze Star

Kent Hori is a Saturday Origami Activity Volunteer at the museum. For his video, he chose the display of medals awarded to 442nd RCT soldiers during World War II. Kent shares the story of his uncle who received a Bronze Star for heroic action, but still is haunted by the ...

The 21st Century Museum: Kent Hori - Bronze Star
Contributed by: JANM

May Porter - Camp Model

May Porter is a Saturday Origami Activity Volunteer at the museum. May chose the Manzanar camp model in Common Ground. During WWII, American citizens were incarcerated in this camp. May stresses that it was a terrible mistake and should never happen again in the future.

The 21st Century Museum: May Porter - Manzanar Camp Model
Contributed by: JANM

Eileen Sakamoto - Baseball Team Photo

Eileen Sakamoto is a Wednesday & Saturday Volunteer in the Museum Store and Visitor Services. For her artifact, Eileen chose a 1927 baseball team photograph from Utah. In the photo, she made a surprising personal discovery.

The 21st Century Museum: Eileen Sakamoto - Baseball Team Photo
Contributed by: JANM

Lee Hayashi - Picture Bride Photo

Lee Hayashi is a Wednesday Group Tour Docent at the museum. He chose a photograph of picture brides arriving in the United States. The photo is very important for Lee. When he leads student tours, he uses it to relate the story of how his grandmother came to America as a picture ...

The 21st Century Museum: Lee Hayashi - Picture Bride Photo
Contributed by: JANM

Roy Sakamoto - Citizenship Papers

Roy Sakamoto is a Wednesday & Saturday Group Tour Docent at the museum. For him, the citizenship papers on display in the exhibition are very personal. His Issei father wanted to go back to Japan after World War II, but he later changed his mind. He told Roy, “My legacy ...

The 21st Century Museum: Roy Sakamoto - Citizenship Papers
Contributed by: JANM

Common Ground: The Heart of Community

Common Ground is an ongoing exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum that opened in 1999. Incorporating hundreds of objects, documents and photographs collected by the National Museum, this exhibition chronicles 130 years of Japanese American history, beginning with the early days of the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration ...

Sign: Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Contributed by: editor


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