Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Japanese American History Museum
A project of Oregon Nikkei Endowment

121 NW 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 224-1458

Museum hours:
Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.

$5 admission,
free for Friends of Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Upcoming Activities for Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Current Exhibit
Yosegaki Hinomaru:
Souvenir, Heirloom or Art?
Open to the public through September 27, 2015

Every day across America, from deep within our family closets and attics, we discover artifacts from World War II, such as small Japanese flags inscribed with family names. What is this? Who made it and why? How did they get to America? This exhibition explores a time seventy years ago when families sent their sons off to war carrying personal items, and neither the son nor the property returned.

First Thursday – Thursday, September 3, 4-7pm
Free and open to the public

Museum Day Live!Museum Day Live!
Saturday, September 26, 2015
at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center

This September marks the 11th annual Museum Day Live!, an event hosted by Smithsonian magazine. On this day only, participating museums across the United States emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution's Washington DC-based facilities, which offer free admission everyday, and open their doors for free to those who download a Museum Day Live! ticket.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is a participating museum again this year. Free admission for two people to the museum during exhibit hours (11am-3pm) with the Museum Day Live! ticket. To get your ticket, go to Smithsonian.com/museumday. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2015 and a full list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit Smithsonian.com/museumday.

Nihonmachi: The Place to Be
Special Performances in Portland
Presented by Portland JACL
Monday, November 9, noon and 7pm
at Portland Center Stage, Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Avenue, Portland
Tickets: Student Matinee: $10, Evening performance: $40 ($35 if purchased before 10/25/15)
Tickets go on sale September 1 at www.pcs.org

Nihonmachi: The Place to Be is a two-hour musical journey, originally performed in Los Angeles, that will transport audiences back in time to Nihonmachi (Japantown), the way it used to be before World War II. The play follows one Sansei's (third generation Nikkei) story as he discovers 100 years of his family's history, his roots in Japantown, and ultimately who he is as a Japanese American. Interspersed through the show are classic, nostalgic Japanese and American songs.

Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Portland Center Stage have partnered with Grateful Crane Ensemble to bring this production to the Gerding Theater. Two performances, a matinee for school groups (including complimentary tickets for underserved youth) and an evening performance for the general public, will introduce this history to audiences of all ages.

Tickets will go on sale September 1 at Portland Center Stage (www.pcs.org or 503-445-3700). Please contact Oregon Nikkei Endowment for more information:

Phone: 503-224-1458

Nihonmachi Sponsors
Title Sponsor: Portland JACL
Level 1: Japanese Ancestral Society of Portland, Sam Naito, Alice Sumida
Level 2: Ford Foundation, Irene Hirano Inouye, Kresge Foundation, The Standard
Level 3: MJ Murdock Charitable Trust
Level 4: Deloitte, NW Natural, Summit Properties, Vanport International, Inc., Junki Yoshida

Resources & Services
Check out our Resources page to learn more about the Legacy Center's programs, which provide tangible reminders of the richness and vitality that ethnic minorities can bring to societies that hold sacred the rights of its citizens and regard as a blessing the diversity of its people.

Other Community Events
Please visit Discover Nikkei for more information about upcoming events in the area and around the world. Also visit the JROC calendar for more Portland-area events from the Japan-Related Organizations Coordinating Group:

Oregon History Museum
World War II: A World at War, A State Transformed
June 26 – December 7, 2015

In this exhibition, artifacts and manuscripts from the Mark Family Collection illustrate this massive conflict, from the battlefields in North Africa to the home fronts in America. The exhibit will also focus on Oregon, a state transformed during the mid-twentieth century. Items drawn from the Oregon Historical Society's archives will tell the stories that dramatically changed Oregon, including the operation of the Kaiser shipyards and the experience of Japanese Americans. Learn more at www.ohs.org

  • Series: History PubHome Front Stories of World War II
    Monday, August 31, 7-9pm
    at McMenamins Kennedy School Theater, Portland
    Free and open to the public
    This month's History Pub features stories from individuals who lived and worked on the Oregon home front during World War II. The panel will include Jean Matsumoto, who was sent with her family to Idaho's Minidoka Relocation Center where they were incarcerated for three years. Learn more about these events at www.ohs.org.

A Community on the Move
February 1 – October 4, 2015

A Community on the MoveThis original exhibition, created by the Oregon Black Pioneers, explores how the WWII shipyards, migration from the South, the Vanport flood, and urban renewal projects impacted Portland's black families and businesses. Drawing on personal photographs, historic artifacts, and hands-on experiences, A Community on the Move illuminates Portland's vibrant black community of the 1940s and early 1950s, which thrived despite a larger cultural and legal context of discrimination and displacement. As present-day gentrification in Portland impacts historically black neighborhoods, the importance of acknowledging and understanding this little-known history is critical to our collective future. With this in mind, A Community on the Move has been designed so that visitors can connect and compare past conditions to our modern realities. Learn more at www.ohs.org.

The Art of War: Propaganda Posters of World Wars I and II
February 28 – November 15, 2015

Guns, bombs, planes, tanks, ships, and submarines were the major weapons of World Wars I and II, but the persuasive powers of words and images were critically important in gaining and galvanizing the support of the American public. During both of the World Wars, the United States Government ran aggressive public relations campaigns; these propaganda posters, from the Mark Family Collection, are a sampling of poster art from World Wars I and II. Learn more at ohs.org.

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Suzhou Summer: Art in the Garden
July 1 – August 31, 2015

July and August at Lan Su Chinese Garden is Suzhou Summer: Art in the Garden, where visitors can enjoy a series of demonstrations and activities in the traditional arts of calligraphy, brush painting, seal carving and music. Learn more at lansugarden.org.

Cannon Beach History Center & Museum
What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps
A textile exhibit by Cathy Erickson

October 24, 2015 – February 29, 2016

For over a decade, Cathy Erickson has focused her artwork on the hardships that Japanese Americans faced when they were incarcerated in camps during World War II. Much of the work for this exhibit was done in collaboration with Margaret Chula, an internationally known haiku poet. Learn more at www.cbhistory.org.

Past events:

25th Anniversary of the Japanese American Historical Plaza
Celebratory Event and Cruise, with George Takei and Thomas Lauderdale
Sunday, August 2, 2015
4pm Public Event at the Plaza (NW Naito Parkway and Couch Street)
5:30pm Dinner Cruise on the Portland Spirit

George TakeiWe are proud to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Japanese American Historical Plaza and Bill of Rights Memorial! From 4:00-5:00pm on Sunday, August 2, Oregon Nikkei Endowment will honor all those who were instrumental in creating and maintaining the Japanese American Historical Plaza. The keynote speaker will be actor and activist George Takei, and music will be provided by the Minidoka Swing Band. This event is free and open to the public. Following the public event will be a celebratory cruise on the Portland Spirit. Boarding will begin at 5:30, and the cruise will take place from 6-8:30 pm. George Takei will be the special guest for this celebratory cruise, and music will be provided by Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini.

Please join us in celebrating 25 years of the Japanese American Historical Plaza and honoring all those who helped us reach this important milestone!

Plaza Cleanup
plaza cleanupSunday, July 26, 8am - noon
at the Japanese American Historical Plaza (NW Couch Street and Naito Parkway)

Volunteers are needed to help us clean the Japanese American Historical Plaza on Sunday, July 26, starting at 8am. Clean-up activities include pulling weeds, sweeping, and picking up litter. If possible, volunteers are encouraged to bring a broom, dust pan, rake, work gloves, water, flag markers, and any other tools and supplies that might be useful.

Annual Banquet
Benefit for Oregon Nikkei Endowment
Saturday, July 18, 2015
5pm Reception, 6pm Dinner
at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 SW 6th Ave, Portland

We wish to thank our wonderful donors for their generous contributions to our Annual Banquet, honoring Jean Matsumoto and Yoshio & Sawako Oda, featuring Special Remarks by Governor Kate Brown and former Oregon Supreme Court Justice W. Michael Gillette, as well as a performance by Kurt Kuniyoshi, member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble and lead actor of Nihonmachi.

Our donors gave us wonderful items for our Silent Auction, Dessert Dash, and Wine Pull. We couldn't do it without you!

Airbnb Kira Iwasaki Noho's Hawaiian Café
Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille Rich Iwasaki Jere Okada
Beaverton Bakery Doug Katagiri Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
Columbia Sportswear/Trent Blair Lan Su Chinese Garden Oregon Culinary Institute
Cycle Portland Made in Oregon Portland Japanese Garden
Curves, Multnomah Mario's/Raynette Yoshida Portland Roasting
Sean Egusa Connie Masuoka Salishan Spa and Golf Resort
Lynn Grannan Meeka Sushi Restaurant Sapporo USA, Inc.
Betty Jean Harry Minidoka Swing Band SHO Authentic Japanese Cuisine
Ichidai Restaurant Darren Nakata Taipei Noodle Haus
Iko No Kai/Loen Dozono Kaeti Namba Tanasacres Nursery
Iwasaki Brothers Greenhouse New Seasons, Lake Oswego Uwajimaya
  Cherie Yokota  

Sakura Sakura Programs
Celebrated local photographer Motoya Nakamura has created a body of work by making photographs and videos of sakura (cherry blossom trees) throughout one year at the Japanese American Historical Plaza and Bill of Rights Memorial in Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Family Day – Saturday, May 9, 11am-3pm
Free and open to the public. Join us at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center to make your own Sakura Sakura picture!

Old Town/Chinatown Photo Scavenger Hunt with Motoya Nakamura
May 9, noon-1:30pm
Ages 8+ (with family supervision)
Free, RSVP required

As part of Family Day, join Motoya Nakamura for a family-friendly workshop at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. With Motoya as your guide, and Sakura Sakura as your inspiration, families attending this free workshop will be provided disposable cameras and sent on a photo-taking scavenger hunt through the neighboring streets of Old Town/Chinatown! This event is co-sponsored by Portland Photographic Society and Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Artists' Talk – Saturday, June 6, 3pm
Motoya Nakamura and visiting University of San Francisco professor Brian Komei Dempster will showcase the power of poetry, writing, and visual art to express complex issues of identity and the legacy of Japanese Americans.

Book Event
Saturday, May 16, 1-5pm
Free and open to the public

Please join us at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center as Dr. Toshio Inahara unveils his new autobiography: A Nisei, Right Place, Right Time.

Calendar of Activities

JROC Calendar

Community Events


E-News Signup 


oregon nikkei endowment
Online donation system by ClickandPledge

Current Exhibit

Yosegaki Hinomaru
July 25 - September 27, 2015

Yosegaki Hinomaru

Giving Opportunities

Wish List



Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Connect and Share:

Follow OregonNikkei on Twitter

Japanese American Historical Plaza

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center

tumblr Oregon Nikkei Collection
FlickrPhotos on Flickr

Blue Star Museums

The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center has a wealth of resources documenting Japanese American history and culture, housing original manuscripts, government documents and publications, as well as historical and contemporary artifacts and photographs.

Friends of Oregon Nikkei Endowment
Your support will help to ensure that the history, art and culture of the Nikkei are preserved and shared with the community for generations to come.

Become a Subscriber


What is Nikkei?


For information on administrative hours,
please call us at 503-224-1458.

home | visit | exhibits | activities | education | subscribe | support | volunteer | resources | contact us