Japanese Internment Camp Memorial

Ruth Asawa created a bronze sculpture with vignettes depicting life for the Japanese before and during the internment camps.

The memorial has two stories life of Japanese coming to America and starting their life.

The other side of the memorial shows the life of Japanese Americans living in internment camps.

On the side where Japanese begin their life in America, vignettes show families walking across a bridge of water to farm environment.

The families are carrying some small bags with whatever belongings they could take from their original home.

As you scan the vignettes from left to right, the people go from moving in to working in farms, and then you see people being put in buses and having evacuation sales.

A Japanese family has a small fire in front of their home burning all Japanese related items from the flag, to lanterns, and even a little girl’s doll.

A little girl is hurled onto her father’s back trying to stop him from putting her doll in the flames.

A woman covering her face as her husband is about to toss a lantern, and samurai sword in the fire.

Next to them a large sign reads, EVACTUATION SALE.

The little girl next to the sign holding her doll is crying into her arm as she walks towards her father.

On the far right of this image there is a soldier hammering the notice to Japanese Americans they will be evacuating their homes on May 23, 1942.

There are two Japanese business men watching the soldier.

Their expressions are upset because they will have to leave everything they have done behind because they are being moved to “relocation sites”.

On the other side of the memorial, the camps looks very crowded, and where people can get food shows two people fighting over the table.

Adults do not seem to be pleased with where they are but most children don’t seem too upset.

Two small boys are shown walking in baseball uniforms one with a bat over his shoulder, and the other with a glove on his hand.

The boys are happy and smiling.

Another vignette shows people getting a drawing or painting lesson.

I would not say because these images are pleasant that what happened in all the internment camps was like this.

We should not forget this memorial was made and dedicated to the Japanese Americans that were denied their constitutional rights because they had Japanese ancestry.

Asawa says, “Let their story remind us of our shared responsibility to uphold the moral rights of all individuals at all times.”


Japanese Internment Camp Memorial

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