Monday, May 30, 2016

'Go For Broke' Debuts New Museum with Pearl Harbor Exhibit

Photos & story by Karen Ostlund, May 28th, 2016 in Los Angeles 

Go For Broke National Education Center presented a new museum
and a  Pearl Harbor Exhibit "Defining Courage" Memorial Day Weekend
 (Los Angeles, CA)   Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) made debut of a new museum and groundbreaking "Defining Courage" exhibition with a homecoming festival Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 355 East First street downtown Little Tokyo.

Exhibit "Defining Courage" is free admission every Thursday from 5-8 pm
Every third Thursday of the month is free admission ALL DAY

May 28 2016, Ribbon cutting of new facilities and Defining Courage exhibit
opening about Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The exhibition documents the Japanese American World War II experience beginning with Pearl Harbor and draws parallels to our contemporary times. 
The exhibit explains with graphic photos and film clips the difference of being a Japanese who wanted peace living in USA, Dec.1 1941, and one week after (Dec.7) when the bomb hit Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Sho Chiku Bai Sake tasting at the opening for everybody over 21

December 7 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor lagoon harbor on the island Oahu in Hawaii (USA) 
U.S. were shocked.

December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war (Public Law 77-328, 55 STAT 795) on the Empire of Japan in response to that country's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the prior day. 

It was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Following the declaration, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.

Americans of Japanese descent suddenly found themselves labeled “Enemy Alien.” 
Over 110,000 Japanese Americans were sent to  WRA camps (War Relocation Authority camps) and wearing label tags.

From behind the barbed wire, young men volunteered for military service by the thousands. 
The U.S. Army put them in their own segregated units­–the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. These became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.  In the Pacific, other Japanese American (JA) soldiers fought in the Military Intelligence Service. “Unknown Warriors of World War II” shines light on the brave, patriotic legacy of the JA soldiers of World War II.
Rev. Shawn Amos performed among many others 

Festival booths offered sponsors food tasting opening day

The Defining Courage exhibition is divided into eight sections to illustrate the difficult decisions Japanese Americans were forced to make. 
1. Pearl Harbor Aftermath:
The lives of Japanese Americans changed dramatically during the months immediately following their country (Japan) bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 

2. Lives Left Behind:
“All of a sudden our friends were not our friends…we weren’t Americans anymore, we were Japs.  Nobody ever used that word before, but we in Hawaii were now considered Japs.  One year we were neighbors, and the next year we were enemies.”–Stanley M. Akita, Hanamuana, HI
Film clips from 1941
Japanese American families on the mainland were forced to relocated to WRA camps in accordance with Executive Order 9066. This meant that Japanese Americans had to sell their businesses, and their possessions–often for pennies on the dollar– unless they could find someone who was willing to store them.   Heirlooms, family pets, photographs and friends were almost immediately lost.  Community leaders were taken by the FBI.  Families with relatives in Japan and America were torn apart.  Almost overnight, these Americans lost everything, including their identity as Americans. 

Japanese in USA had to wear paper hang-tags
after the Pearl Harbor attack
 3. History Revisited:
 In History Revisited, we examine how we can stay safe as a country while simultaneously honoring the Bill of Rights.  The current global climate is bringing the Japanese American experiences of WWII to the fore, again.  Some parallels include the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans after the events of 9/11; the USA Patriot Act of 2001; nativist rhetoric against immigrants; and the rise of racial profiling. 
4. Piece it Together:
What was it like to be an American one day, and a person of suspicion the next?  Piece it Together is an interactive storytelling component that provides a window into the experiences and emotions of Japanese Americans during WWII.  Visitors begin the journey geographically, selecting a destination.  They are then placed in the shoes of young Japanese Americans during the war.  They are confronted with decisions like “Will you join the military while your family is incarcerated?”; “Will you protest against the government’s unjust treatment?”; “Will you leave your family behind in the incarceration camp to seek education on the East Coast?”  In this computer-based activity, they then make a decision and face the consequences, learning about real-life Japanese Americans who made similar choices during World War II.
Propaganda posters at Defining Courage exhibit
5. Propaganda Deconstructed:
The exhibition warns against propaganda, fear mongering, and the abridgement of constitutional rights.  To illustrate the power of the media and others, Propaganda Deconstructed teaches visitors the methods by which propaganda is spread.  Visitors learn how stories, images, and videos are often edited to change the meaning.  On a large touch-screen, visitors experiment with cropping modern images in order to express differing messages.
6. Media Maker:
Media Maker lets visitors create their own mini-documentary films about the Japanese American World War II experience and its relevance to today.  This computer-based activity provides visitors an opportunity to create a short film using drag and drop technology.  Visitors draw from a library of hundreds of oral history clips, historic photographs and films, documents, and the personal stories of hundreds of wartime Japanese Americans. After the video has been created, visitors will be able to email themselves a link to their documentary to share with their friends and family. 
Hang tags,  Japanese were marked with during
World War II
7. Woven Thoughts:
The political and social climate during World War II is quite relevant today.  Woven Thoughts provides visitors with an opportunity to weigh in on contemporary issues. Participants will cast their vote in response to a question by selecting a piece of fabric and weaving it into a wire grid. These different colored ribbons will form a mosaic that provides a visual representation of public sentiment.
8. Courage:
The Nisei soldiers, members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), served heroically in Europe and the Pacific. The 100th/442nd remains the most highly decorated unit in US military history for its size and length of service, and the MIS was credited with shortening the war by two years.

Defining Courage exhibit closes with a selection of quotes from the Japanese American soldiers ‘passing the torch’ on to the next generation.  These quotes are taken from GFBNEC’s Hanashi oral history collection.  
The Japanese American veteran experience is a story of resilience, courage and a firm belief in the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
The new Museum is located in the former  Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple which was once among the largest and most influential Buddhist Temples in the United States.  At the time, Little Tokyo was home to more than 30,000 Japanese Americans. 
GFBNEC is located at 355 E. First St., Suite 200 in Los Angeles, CA 90012. 
Ticket info:
Inside the exhibit "Defining Courage"
History of Pearl Harbor bombing and its impact of World War II in USA 
(facts from :
When the explosives failed to go off, he swam to the bottom of the submarine to 
investigate the cause of the failure and became unconscious due to a lack of oxygen. 
The book "Attack on Pearl Harbor" claims that his sub hit four coral reefs and sank. 
Sakamaki was found by a American Hawaiian soldier, David Akui, and was taken
 into military custody. When he awoke, he found himself in a hospital under American
 armed guard
American Hawaiian soldier, David Akui 
(died in 1987)
Sakamaki was one of ten sailors (five officers and five petty officers) selected to attack Pearl Harbor in two-man Ko-hyoteki class midget submarines on 7 December 1941.
Of the ten, nine were killed (including the other crewman in his submarine, Kiyoshi Inagaki). 
After being taken to Sand Island in Hawaii, Sakamaki requested that he wanted to commit suicide, which was denied. Sakamaki spent the rest of the war until September 1945 in prisoner-of-war camps on the mainland United States. 
At the war's end, he was repatriated to Japan, by time he had become deeply committed to pacifism (opposition to war, militarism or violence).

Sakamaki prisoner of war 1941-45,
before he died 1999 in Japan
Outside of writing a memoir, Sakamaki refused to speak about the war until 1991.
He spent the rest of his life in Japan until his death in 1999 at the age of 81, and was survived by his wife and two children.
Sakamaki wrote a memoir titled "Four Years as a Prisoner-of-War, No. 1" and his memoirs were translated and published in the United States on the eighth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack under the title  "I Attacked Pearl Harbor".
Sakamaki's experience as a prisoner of war in America was detailed in "The Anguish of Surrender: Japanese POWs of World War II" by Ulrich Straus (2004).
The attack on Pearl Harbor took place before a declaration of war by Japan, but that was not the intent of the Japanese leadership. 
It was originally stipulated that the attack should not commence until 30 minutes after Japan had informed the United States that it was withdrawing from further peace negotiations.It was the intent of the Japanese to uphold the conventions of war while still achieving surprise, but the attack began before the notice could be delivered. 
Tokyo transmitted the 5,000-word notification (known as the "14-Part Message") in 
two blocks to the Japanese Embassy in Washington - but the transcription took too long 
for the ambassador to deliver it in time. Many lives could have been saved.
Nuclear weapons have been used twice in nuclear warfare history, both times by the 
United States against Japan near the end of World War II. 
On August 6, 1945, the U.S. Army Air Forces detonated a uranium gun-type smaller 
fission bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. Army Air Forces detonated a plutonium 
implosion-type fission  bigger bomb codenamed "Fat Man" over the Japanese 
city of Nagasaki, which made Japan surrender, August 15 1945. 
World War II ended two weeks after,  September 2nd 1945. 
The bombings resulted in the deaths of approximately 200,000 civilians and 
military personnel from acute injuries sustained from the explosions.
The ethics of the bombings and their role in Japan's surrender remain the 
subject of scholarly and popular debates.
After the Pearl Harbor bombing Japanese Americans
were relocated to WRA, War Relocation Authority camps in US (1942-45)
After the Pearl Harbor bombing, which lasted 90 min, and declaration of War (the day after) December 8 1941,President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which selected ten sites to incarcerate more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (64% were American citizens). They had been forcibly removed from the West Coast, where over 80% of Japanese Americans lived.
All camps closed closed between October 15 and December 15 1945. Tule Lake 
was the last camp which held "renunciants" slated for deportation to Japan. 
It closed on March 20, 1946, and Executive Order 9742, signed by President 
Harry S. Truman on June 26, 1946, and officially ended the WRA’s camps mission in USA.
About Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC)
Since its formation in 1989, Go For Broke National Education Center has been committed to educating the public about the responsibilities, challenges, and rights of American citizenship by using the life stories of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II. In order to share these stories, they began video recording the oral histories of Japanese American veterans, and today they have the largest collection of its kind in the country. The interviews have been incorporated into a complete curriculum with lesson plans and web-based project learning to share their story with youth across the country.
In 1999, GFBNEC dedicated the Go For Broke Monument in the Little Tokyo District of Los Angeles. On the monument are the insignias of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion. 

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