Thursday, October 22, 2009

Japanese-Americans In the Military Exhibition

Below is a press release from the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego on their latest exhibition. This is significant as there were many Japanese-American Buddhists who served in World War II and beyond (in my experience, this is an relatively unknown fact, as many people assume that Buddhists serving in the U.S. military is a recent phenomenon). The exhibit will be held at the San Diego Veterans Museum & Memorial Center, which is worth visiting on any day.

On November 10, 2009 the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego (JAHSSD) will open an exhibition titled “Japanese Americans in the Military” at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center, 2115 Park Blvd. in Balboa Park. It will run through May 31, 2010.
“Japanese Americans in the Military,” curated by Susan Hasegawa, Professor of History at San Diego City College, and Linda Canada, JAHSSD archivist, will tell the stories of men and women of Japanese descent who have served in the United States armed forces.
The exhibition will draw from the historical society’s considerable photograph and artifact collection. Sections are devoted to Japanese nationals volunteering for service around 1900 (including one killed in the explosion of the USS Bennington in San Diego Harbor in 1905); the heroism of Japanese Americans who served during World War II; stories of the war on the home front, where West Coast Japanese Americans served time in internment camps while their sons and brothers served our country on the front lines; and the differences between the segregated armed services and what was later experienced by Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars veterans.
Programs at the museum to accompany the exhibition include: January 17, 2010 (3-5 pm) screening of “Only the Brave,” the WWII drama about the All-Nisei 100/442 Regimental Combat Team by filmmaker Lane Nishikawa who will introduce and discuss his film; and February 19 (6-8pm) a Day of Remembrance program.

In addition to the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center of San Diego, sponsors of the exhibition include the San Diego Chapter and the Pacific Southwest Region of the Japanese Americans Citizens League, Asian American Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4851, and the World Cultures program at San Diego City College.

An exhibition preview and opening reception will be held from 2-4 pm on November 8.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am-4 pm. Admission fees range from $2 to $5. Active military and children 12 & under are free. The museum offers free admission the second Tuesday of the every month. For more information about “Japanese Americans in the Military,” call JAHSSD at (619) 660-0174 or go to For more information about the Veterans Museum, call (619) 239-2300 or go to

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Buddhist Military Sangha by Jeanette Shin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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