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

Return & Remembrance
A Pilgrimage to the Portland Assembly Center
Honoring those Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated by Executive Order 9066
Saturday, May 6, 2017, 2-4pm
at Portland Expo Center, Exhibit Hall A (2060 N. Marine Drive), free parking for this event
Free and open to the public
RSVP to Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Seventy-five years ago, on May 6, 1942, Japantown in Portland was empty of Japanese Americans by military decree. Families were uprooted, property sold, and local businesses closed. Those of Japanese ancestry residing in the local area upended their lives and moved into the former animal stalls of the Pacific International Livestock and Exposition Center. Four months later they joined 120,000 other Japanese Americans in ten hastily erected concentration camps across the United States.

Please join us as we return to the site of the Portland Assembly Center to honor those who were unjustly forced out of their homes and businesses, driven away by wartime hysteria and racism. Listen to the stories of Japanese Americans who were there in 1942 and how they came together despite great hardship.

Program will include the following:

  • Emcee: David Ono, news anchor for KABC-TV Channel 7 in Los Angeles
  • Keynote speaker: Dale Minami, civil rights lawyer and lead attorney for Fred Korematsu's coram nobis legal team
  • Performances by Unit Souzou and Minidoka Swing Band
  • Exhibit on view: Architecture of Internment: The Build Up to Wartime Incarceration, created by Graham Street Productions
  • George Nakata, former internee will share stories of life as a young boy at the Portland Assembly Center
  • Chisao Hata, dancer and artist, will present her Tag Project—an opportunity for visitors to participate in honoring those incarcerated at the Portland Assembly Center
  • Weston Koyama, a fourth generation Japanese American and the first Minoru Yasui Fellow at the University of Oregon School of Law, will speak about the impact of the incarceration
ONLC 535, gift of Alice Y. Sumida

The Tokio Sukiyaki House was located at 228 NW 4th Avenue, Portland. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the restaurant dropped "TOKIO" from its name in an effort to prove their American loyalty. Their efforts did not succeed, and the restaurant was shuttered when the owners and family members were incarcerated at the Portland Assembly Center. The restaurant never reopened. [ONLC 535, gift of Alice Y. Sumida]

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Oregon Nikkei Endowment for information.

Volunteers are needed for this event to help with setup, cleanup, and during the program. Volunteers are also needed in 1940s period clothing for a performance piece (must provide your own outfit).

This program is presented by Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Portland JACL. Return & Remembrance is sponsored by Portland Expo Center. Visit expocenter.org for directions. Please contact Oregon Nikkei Endowment with questions, for sponsorship information, or to sign up to volunteer:

Phone: 503-224-1458

Race and Place: Old Town's Chinatown and Japantown Through Chinese American and Nikkei Eyes
A Series of Public Conversations: Part Two
Wednesday, May 3, 5:30-7:30pm
at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, KPC Community Room
(75 NW Couch Street, Portland)
Free and open to the public, light refreshments will be served

Chinese and Japanese American community elders will share their stories about growing up, living, and working in adjoining quarters called New Chinatown and Japantown between the 1920s-1960, in what is now known as Old Town Chinatown. The variety of perspectives offered by the elders will shed light on the ways that the neighborhood's Chinese American and Nikkei communities diverged and intersected with each other at different moments. The elders' dialogue will be followed by an open and lively discussion between panelists and audience.

Race and Place, a series of public talks to explore Old Town's multiethnic past, is organized by the Portland Chinatown History Foundation in collaboration with the Oregon Nikkei Endowment. The series is sponsored by the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Visit www.portlandchinatown.org to learn more.

Minidoka PilgrimageMinidoka Pilgrimage
Thursday-Sunday, July 6-9, 2017

In 1942, close to 13,000 people of Japanese ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, were removed from their homes in the Pacific Northwest and sent to a desolate "incarceration camp" near Twin Falls, Idaho. This summer, the 15th annual pilgrimage will take place with former incarcerees, their families, and friends - from Seattle, Portland and across the nation - to the former Minidoka Camp in Idaho.

The Minidoka Pilgrimage is an opportunity to learn, share memories, and ask questions about the Minidoka experience. Participation is limited, so sign up early. Learn more and register at www.minidokapilgrimage.org.

Current Exhibit
Yellow Terror: The Collections and Paintings Of Roger Shimomura
Open to the public through July 16, 2017

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

Yellow Terror is a rare opportunity to view Roger Shimomura's artwork alongside his extensive collection of memorabilia and objects depicting racial stereotypes of Asians and Asian Americans, recently donated to the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. In his signature Pop Art style, Shimomura's paintings uncover and challenge the role of the media and material culture to define the American norm while establishing the perpetual Other. Visit our exhibits page to learn more.

Minidoka Center Field Project
at the Minidoka National Historic Site

The goal of the Center Field Project is to re-construct one of the baseball fields at Minidoka and its supporting structures, including scoreboard, backstop, player benches, and exhibit panels.

Minidoka baseballBaseball played a key role in sustaining the Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at the Minidoka War Relocation Center from 1942-45. Many camp residents—youth and adults, male and female—played baseball or softball on one of the many fields throughout the camp.

Field-In-A-Day is based on the 1952 Farm-In-A-Day event on property that was part of the historic Minidoka site. Approximately 1500 volunteers built a two bedroom home, dug irrigation canals, built corrals, and planted crops — all in a single day. On Saturday, May 28th, individuals and groups joined Friends of Minidoka and park staff in rebuilding one of the baseball fields that were interspersed among the 44 residential blocks.

Support the Minidoka Center Field Project by volunteering for Field-In-A-Day, making a donation, or purchasing a special commemorative baseball (a portion of sales supports the Center Field Project). The baseball ($10, case costs extra) is available for purchase at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. Please visit www.nps.gov for more information.

Resources & Services
Check out our Resources page to learn more about the Oregon Nikkei 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:

2017 Vanport Mosaic Festival
Gambatte Be Strong
Stories of Japanese American Displacement & Resilience in Portland
Saturday, May 27 at 2pm & Sunday May 28 at 7pm
at The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center (5340 N Interstate Ave, Portland)
Tickets: $10 General, $5 Students/Seniors. Limited Seating, reservations encouraged.

The immigrant journey of the Japanese in Oregon is paved with stories of perseverance and courage. Gambatte Be Strong is the rallying cry for an original reading of the little known stories of the return of Japanese Americans to Oregon after their incarceration during WW II. Go to www.vanportmosaic.org to learn more.

Honorary diplomas from Hood River Valley High School
The Hood River County School District is searching for information on students of any age who were enrolled in the Hood River County School District in 1942 and were forced to leave due to Executive Order 9066 and did not eventually earn their diploma. If you have information, please contact Terri Martz, Assistant to the Superintendent: terri.martz[at]hoodriver.k12.or.us or 541-387-5013.

Portland Japanese Garden
Photo by Yoshihiro SaitoHosokawa Morihiro: The Art of Life, A Rebirth in Clay
April 2 - May 21, 2017
at the Portland Japanese Garden

In honor of the Grand Opening of the new Cultural Village at the Portland Japanese Garden, the first exhibition of 2017 is a celebration of tea culture in the art and life of Hosokawa Morihiro, a former Prime Minister of Japan. Prime Mister Hosokawa is an 18th generation descendant of the Hosokawa clan of daimyo (feudal lords), one of the most illustrious samurai families in Japanese history. After 600 years of family history as warriors, tea masters and poets, Hosokawa left a career in politics behind in the late 1990s to pursue the life of an artist in clay and ink. Learn more at japanesegarden.org.

PSU Center for Japanese Studies
Kabuki Dance Drums 2017: The Castle Tower & The Puppeteer
May 30 & 31, 7pm
PSU, Lincoln Performance Hall (1620 SW Park Avenue, Portland)
Tickets: $20 general, $17 senior, $8 student

The Portland State University Center for Japanese Studies, the Department of World Languages and Literatures, and the School of Music are presenting two kabuki productions: The Castle Tower and The Puppeteer. These plays are full of emotion and imagination, presented entirely in English, with remarkable stage properties and gorgeous costumes. They feature lively dances and a wealth of musical talent playing traditional instruments. Visit www.pdx.edu/cjs to learn more.

Salem Multicultural Institute
Kitsuke: The Art of Wearing Kimono
February 1 - May 17, 2017
World Beat Gallery, Reed Opera House (189 Liberty St NE #107, Salem)

Translated literally as a "thing to wear," the kimono is so much more. Explore the art and craftsmanship of the iconic Japanese garment and learn the secrets of kitsuke. View the program calendar at salemmulticultural.org.

Lan SuLan Su Chinese Garden
Lan Su in Bloom
March 1- May 30, 2017

Lan Su Chinese Garden's plant collection is filled with more than ninety specimen trees, rare and unusual shrubs and perennials, and signature magnolia, orchid and camellia collections. Lan Su in Bloom is an in-depth look at plants with Lan Su's horticulture staff and garden experts. Take in the sights and scents of special floral arranging demonstrations, guided garden plant tours, and talks from plant and garden experts. Learn more at www.lansugarden.org.

Architectural Heritage Center
Parting Shots: Minor White's Images of Portland, 1938-1942
Open March 3–December 23, 2017
Meyer Memorial Trust Gallery at the Architectural Heritage Center

Minor White (1908 – 1976) was one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century. Originally from Minnesota, White’s professional career as a photographer began in Portland. Between 1938 – 1942 White was commissioned to document what amounted to the end of an era for some of the city's most important early architecture. Parting Shots will bring greater focus and attention to White's career in Portland, while also presenting through physical artifacts, the fine workmanship and materials employed by 19th-century architects and builders. Go to visitahc.org to learn more.

Past events:

5th Annual Cherry Blossom Bazaar
A Rummage Sale of Japanese Treasures
Saturday & Sunday, March 11 & 12, 2017, 10am-4pm
127 NW 3rd Avenue, Portland

Shop 'til you drop! This is a unique sale of Japanese collectibles, artwork, dishware, furniture, and more. Items start as low as 25 cents! Something for every age, taste, and budget! All proceeds benefit Oregon Nikkei Endowment.


Mochitsuki 2017
The Year of the Rooster
Sunday, January 29, 11am-4pm
at PSU Smith Memorial Student Union (1825 SW Broadway, Portland)

Enjoy free mochi samples, demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages including: mochi pounding, mochi making, ikebana, origami, games, calligraphy, and much more! Please visit mochipdx.org for more information.

Vision and Vigilance Candlelight Vigil
with Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Portland JACL, and Japanese Ancestral Society
Sunday, December 11, 4pm
at the Japanese American Historical Plaza

Co-Sponsors: ACLU of Oregon, Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Augustana Lutheran Church, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Familias en Accion, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Jewish Voice for Peace - PDX, Know Your City, Latino Health Coalition, Living Earth, Muslim Educational Trust, Muslim Education Center, Oregon Buddhist Temple, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Portland Chinatown History Foundation, Portland Taiko, Unit Souzou, Vanport Mosaic, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, Western States Center, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - Portland, World Arts Foundation, Inc.

In response to the suggestion that Japanese American incarceration camps are a precedent for the creation of a Muslim registry and in response to the divisive rhetoric and rise in incidents of hate across the country, we invite everyone to join us in taking an unequivocal stand for compassion and justice for all people.

From a community that knows well the danger when fear and prejudice prevail, we stand in solidarity with targeted communities and invite everyone to join in a show of unity and support at this event that will feature diverse community voices, closed with a candlelight vigil.

With a vision united by hope, and vigilance to stand against bigotry, we will strengthen our resolve and commitment to hold our country and our elected officials accountable to uphold our civil rights, civil liberties, and the ideals that our country is founded on. Never Again!

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Current Exhibit

Yellow Terror
February 5 — July 16, 2017

Yellow Terror

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