More than 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII

The Architect's early rendering for the proposed Memorial

The Memorial's Crane Centerpiece with office building background

Visitors to the Memorial listen during a presentation

The Crane symbolically tears free the barbed wire that encircled the camps

The twin cranes fly free taking with them the barbed wire of unjust arrest

The Memorial's name is enscribed on the granite stone that lines the entrance

Names of over 800 Japanese American soldiers killed in action during WWII are carved into the Wall of Honor

More than a dozen dentention camps were established to imprison Japanese American citizens

A friend of the Memorial clears the area of debris

Speakers at the 2012 Veteran's Day event pose for pictures at the Memorial with Secretary Norman Y. Mineta

The Memorial hosts many events, including Swearing In Ceremonies such as this one

Current Events of Interest

The Foundation chose five high school students to each spend their summer researching one of the 10 confinement camps used during World War II to incarcerate Japanese Americans and then create a short video—a digital story unique to that camp. The students, from California, Ohio, Washington DC, and Maryland, travelled to the Heart Mountain Pilgrimage near Cody, Wyoming, to learn how to pull their images, interviews, music, and message together into a moving short story video. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jeff MacIntyre (Content Media Group) ran a two-day intensive Digital Storytelling Workshop and oversaw the final production details for each video. The five videos were shown to Pilgrimage attendees at their opening banquet and the videos will ultimately be used in an web application, developed by the Foundation, for visitors to the Memorial.
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Secretary Norm Mineta hosted the Cherry Blossom princesses at the National Japanese American Memorial on April 13th, 2016 in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

All photos courtesy of Stan Fujii.
All photos can be viewed at:
Cherry Blossom Court

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The Foundation is looking to work with ten high school students under the direction of dedicated history teachers to research one of the 10 camps used during World War II to incarcerate Japanese Americans and create a digital story -- telling a story unique to that camp. Each student will focus on one of the camps.

We seek up to 10 culturally diverse students to create short digital stories (under five minutes long) about each of the 10 confinement sites. The 10 digital stories will convey the unique stories of each confinement site and capture the backgrounds of those incarcerated there. The process of researching oral and written histories, writing the video narrative, and learning the videography will provide a profound educational opportunity for the students involved. A history teacher will oversee the research portion; Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Jeff MacIntyre and David Ono (Content Media Group) will run the Digital Storytelling Workshop and oversee the final production details for each digital story.

Additional information can be found in the press release below.

Download, complete and email the application form to be considered.

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Past Events of Interest

2016 National Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk

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This year’s Freedom Walk was held on April 2, 2016. The event featured comments delivered by Mr. Atsuyuki Oike, Deputy Chief of Mission Japanese Embassy to the United States. The Freedom Walk Keynote speaker was Mr. Jonathan Jarvis the Director of the United States Park Service. Though cloudy and cold at the end of the formal program many attendees participated in the Freedom walk. The Freedom Walk is a historical and cultural event which seeks to raise awareness about the Japanese American experience during World War II.

The Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk, is an official event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, and is an annual event held at the National Japanese American Memorial.

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The 17th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk, an official event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the National Japanese American Memorial, rain or shine. Check-in begins at 9:00AM. Nen Daiko Japanese Taiko drummers of Ekoji Temple, VA will perform at 9:30AM and the program will begin at 10:00AM.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Ms. Catherine Mitrano, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Resolution Management at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also on the program will be the Japanese Minister of Economics and Development Tamaki Tsukada from the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC.

The Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk is a historical and cultural event to raise awareness about the Japanese American experience during World War II and to highlight the vigilant role that American citizens must continue to play in preserving the Constitutional rights of all Americans. The Memorial was built as a lasting tribute to the more than 33,000 Japanese American soldiers who served with great distinction in the U.S. Military. The Memorial also pays tribute to the more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were unjustly relocated in American confinement sites during World War II and is also a testament to our nation’s greatness that it does not fear to acknowledge its mistakes.

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The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation is proud to sponsor the Smithsonian Institution 2015 Day of Remembrance Program. This year’s program will include a screening of David Ono's (news anchor with Los Angeles ABC-7 Eyewitness News) Emmy-award winning documentary The Legacy of Heart Mountain. (more info)
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by University of Massachusetts professor Dr. Franklin Odo with panelists :

  • Film producer David Ono;
  • Former Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, featured in the film;
  • Alice Takemoto, a Nisei imprisoned in Jerome War Authority Center in Arkansas;
  • Paul Takemoto, author of Nisei Memories: My Parents Talk About the War Years; and
  • Shirley Higuchi, chairperson of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation.

The program also includes a live performance by spoken-word artist G. Yamazawa.

2015 Veterans Day Ceremony

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WHERE: National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII
November 11, 2015 • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Pledge of Allegiance
National Anthem
Introduction of Guests

  • Chair, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation
  • President, Japanese American Veterans Associatio
  • Spokesman, Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors Organization
Moment of Silence for the Fallen
Wreath Laying

Introduction of Speaker
Keynote Address
  • Major General Joseph Caravalho, Jr.
  • Deputy Surgeon General, United States Army

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The Congressional Gold Medal Tour makes it's way to De Young Museum in San Francisco. (all photos courtesy of David Louie)

On June 29, 2013 in San Francisco at the de Young museum, the original Congressional Gold Medal honoring the Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers was unveiled.  The National Veterans Network and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service are sharing the story of the veterans and the Medal in a 7-city national tour.

Addressing the guests were:  Mr. Colin Bailey, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; The Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives; Daphne Kwok, Chair of President Obama's Advisory Commission on Asian American & Pacific Islanders and NJAMF  Board Member; Mr. Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; and 442nd Veteran Lawson Sakai.  Also in attendance was Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Obama.

Twenty-seven veterans from the 100th, 442nd and MIS were in attendance including 100 year-old Roy Matsumoto of Merrill's Marauders. 

Ms. Kwok delivered remarks at the event and her comments can be
found here.

“Allegiance” finds its way to Broadway!

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Inspired by true events, Allegiance is the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor. Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people. An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves. Legendary performer George Takei — (Star Trek, “Heroes”), who was himself an internee as a child, stars alongside Tony® winner Lea Salonga – (Miss Saigon, Mulan) in this enthralling and epic new musical.

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Well, tell the Japanese American experience as lived during World War II. The story will be a summertime treat at the memorial for kids and adults alike!

Using movement and animal characters, "The Little Crane and the Long Journey" tells the incredible World War II story of bravery and adventure, inspired by the true story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Unit. The story will be told in a fable that can be understood by children and the entire event will be enjoyed by adults.

More info can be found here!
On October 18, 2015 Dr. Raymond S. Murakami was presented with the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Sasae made the presentation. The Ambassador mentioned Dr. Murakami’s selection noting “As former Chairman of DC Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and former Chairman of National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Dr. Murakami actively contributed to the advancement of social status of Japanese Americans in the U.S. Dr. Murakami especially led the efforts to realize the establishment of the National Japanese American Memorial in Washington D.C. The National Japanese American Memorial is now a landmark that is indispensable to look back on the history of Japanese Americans.” All at the NJAMF extend our heartfelt congratulations to Chairman Emeritus, Ray Murakami.
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Dr. Raymond S Murakami and Mary Murakami pose for pictures after the presentation ceremony for the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays.
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The Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays. (more info can be found on wiki.)

Dr. Raymond Shoji Murakami,
Former Chairman of National Japanese American Memorial Foundation

  • DECORATION: The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays
  • SERVICE: Contributed to the advancement of social status of Japanese Americans in the United States and promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States
  • NAME (AGE): Raymond Shoji Murakami (87)
  • Former Chairman of DC Chapter, Japanese American Citizens League
  • Former Chairman of National Japanese American Memorial Foundation
  • ADDRESS (NATIONALITY): Bethesda, Maryland (USA)

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“Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.”
— President Ronald W. Reagan, upon signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988

Welcome to the NJAMF Site

For the United States, the Second World War began when the Empire of Japan attacked American armed forces at Pearl Harbor in what was then the Territory of Hawaii on Sunday, December 7, 1941. A little more than two months later – in what was eventually described as acts born of wartime hysteria, racism, and weak political leadership - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The Order resulted in the internment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into 10 relocation camps scattered through more desolate regions of the western United States.

Most of those interned were American citizens. But despite these injustices, thousands of Japanese Americans voluntarily joined the U.S. armed services forces to help win the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific. More than four decades later, the United States Government – in the historic Civil Liberties Act of 1988 approved by Congress and the President -- formally apologized for the personal justice denied by the mass internment.

Soon thereafter, Japanese American veterans of the War led an effort to create a national memorial in the Nation’s Capital to honor the military and civilian patriotism of these individuals and the communities in which they struggled. An ultimate quest was to lift the unjust stigma of shame placed upon the backs of these loyal Americans. The National Japanese American Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC on Federal land on November 9, 2000.

The Memorial honors the heroism and sacrifice of Japanese Americans who fought and died for their country. The Memorial tells the story of Japanese Americans who supported their nation on the home front. But the Memorial does not tell merely a Japanese American story. It tells an American story of patriotism, perseverance and posterity. It is a story about the rights of every American. It is a story of triumph over tragedy.

Throughout our presentation, we'll be mindful of the purpose of the Memorial and our mission. You'll have an opportunity to learn more about how the Memorial was conceived, designed and constructed. You’ll meet the people whose dedication and effort brought it into being, and hear some of the many stories of those Japanese American patriots to whom it is dedicated. But most importantly, you'll be provided the important opportunity to participate in the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to share our story…and your rights.