Other programs complement Japanese-American artworks
Updated: November 10, 2011 3:20PM
The Japanese-American population in Chicago stood at about 400 before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
By the time World War II ended and Japanese-American internment camps were dismantled, that population spiked to about 20,000.
Japanese Americans who left internment camps were not allowed to travel west again so they sought new places to start over. Chicago was one of the most popular resettlement locations.
A secondary exhibition to the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s main exhibition on prisoner-created art and crafts by Japanese Americans tells the after story.
Or as Karen Kanemoto, Legacy Center Manager of the Japanese American Service Committee says, “it’s the coda” to the main exhibition.
What happened to Japanese Americans when they were released from internment camps and could not go back home?
“Origins of Now: Rebuilding Community,” produced by Chicago’s Japanese American Service Committee, sits beside the main exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. It tells the story of Japanese-American resettlement in the Chicago area.
“This is a story of building a community against tremendous odds, discrimination, prejudice, separation from loved ones, pressure to assimilate and disperse, housing shortages and underemployment,” according to the exhibition.
It is the story of how Japanese Americans “rebuilt a vital community.”
It is also only one of several complimentary programs to the museum’s main exhibition, “The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps,” which runs from Sept. 25 through the middle of January.
The Sept. 25 opening event, already filled to capacity, will include a presentation by Curator Delphine Hirasuna, but there are several other events related to the “The Art of Gaman” already scheduled as well.
Following a showing of the PBS film “Time of Fear,” Bill Yoshino, Midwest Director of the Japanese American Citizens League, will interview internees Chiye Tomhiro and Kiyo Yoshimura. The event takes place at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23.
After a short film, Paul Herbert, Executive Director of the First Division Museum at Cantigny, interviews Sam Ozaki and Allen Meyer about their experiences as Japanese-American World War II veterans.
“The Art of Gaman” is organized by Hirasuna with advisory support from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The McCormick Foundation is lead sponsor for special exhibitions at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.
The museum, located at 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, access www.ilholocaustmuseum.org or call (847) 967-4800.