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

Current Exhibits

Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community

This exhibit celebrates the lives and contributions of Oregon's Nikkei community, and evokes memories of shared experiences - from early settlement through the unique challenges of World War II and into the 21st century. Please join us at the Legacy Center for a unique and educational glimpse of Japanese American life in Oregon.



Before Memories Fade:
Uncovering the Story of the Kida Family of White Salmon

December 13, 2014 — February 22, 2015

First Thursday
Thursday, February 5, 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Family Day
Sunday, February 15, noon-3pm
Free and open to the public

Celebrate 2015, the Year of the Sheep, with story time and fun and engaging activities for all ages! On Sunday, February 15, visit our latest exhibit to learn more about a family that lived through World War II. Be a history detective using activity cards which allow you to walk in the footsteps of the Kidas.

When evacuation orders were issued in April of 1942, Kenjiro and Kay Kida, along with their son George, were farming, raising cattle, and growing fruit on seven hundred acres of their family-operated ranch outside of White Salmon, Washington. Classified as "enemy aliens" by their own government, the Kida family had days to pack only what they could carry and report to the Portland Assembly Center.

KidaThe Kidas' experience was not unlike those of 120,000 others of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly removed from the West Coast. What made their story unique is that upon evacuation, residents of the town of White Salmon signed a petition attesting to the character of their "good neighbors" and asking that an exception be made of these "loyal citizens."

Both heartbreaking and inspirational, Before Memories Fade gives voice to a family's story that was at risk of being lost forever. Using first-hand materials and community recollections, our all-volunteer exhibit committee has been able to walk in the footsteps of Kenjiro and Kay Kida and their son George. While this branch of the Kida Family ended when George passed away in 1998, the memory of the family continues to be carried in the hearts of their friends and neighbors.

This hands-on, multimedia exhibit analyzes photographs, oral histories, newspaper articles, and other primary resources. As history detectives, our audience of youth and adults alike will be encouraged to discover history for themselves! Visitors will be able to watch videos and view photos of our exhibit committee visiting historic sites, interviewing friends and neighbors of the Kida Family, and uncovering clues that tells us more about the Kidas and the overall Nikkei experience.

Oregon Heritage CommissionWe invite you to join us on their journey from immigration, through World War II, to the end of a century. Along the way, find out how the road that led us to the Kidas intersects not just one Japanese American family but the American experience itself.

This exhibition and its public programs are made possible in part through a grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission.


Museum hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 11 am to 3 pm, Sundays noon to 3 pm. Admission is $5 ($3 for seniors/students, free for Friends of Oregon Nikkei Endowment).

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
121 NW 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97209 Directions

Phone: 503-224-1458

Upcoming Museum Exhibits

Sakura Sakura
March 7— June 14, 2015

Sakura SakuraCelebrated local photographer Motoya Nakamura is creating a body of work by making photographs and videos of Sakura (cherry trees) throughout one year at the Japanese American Historical Plaza and Bill of Rights Memorial in Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The trees, which were a gift from Japan, manifest Japanese American history that is unique to this region and evoke Nakamura's desire to explore the notions of belonging, identity and diaspora—notions with which the artist constantly grapples.

According to Nakamura, "As a resident of the United States and an immigrant from Japan I have lived half my life in each country. My identity has changed as I have assimilated to the new culture. I often feel as though I am a foreigner in this new land while simultaneously feeling like a stranger in the old. The trees embody this change and complexity."

RACCNakamura will exhibit a total of nine 40"x40" photographs at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center as part of Sakura Sakura. This exhibition and its public programs are made possible in part through a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Online Exhibits

Tour our permanent exhibit
Reflections of an American Community


Japantown PDX
Japantown PDXiPhone Walking Tour of Historic Old Town

Explore Portland's historic Japantown with this walking tour of the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. The city's vibrant pre-WWII Japanese American community is archived in over 125 photographs and audio clips. Watch historic Japantown street life reappear in "then and now" photographic dissolves.

Japantown PDX documents the vitality of this once-thriving Nihonmachi as well as its sudden disappearance in the spring of 1942 when all people of Japanese ancestry were removed from the West Coast. In addition to telling Portland's Japantown story, this app explores the remarkably diverse Old Town neighborhood in tour stops that honor its African American, Chinese and LGBT roots. Open the iPhone App Store and search for "Japantown" or visit the Apple iTunes store for more information.

Discover Nikkei
Oregon Nikkei Endowment is partnering with Discover Nikkei, one of the world's largest sources for Nikkei-related databases, history and culture, to create online collections of photographs and history relating to Oregon's Japanese American history.

Nihonmachi: Portland's Japantown


Nikkei Farmers of the Hood River Area

Nikkei Farmers

Taken: Oregonians Arrested after Pearl Harbor

Taken: FBI

Oregon Nikkei History

Portland Assemby Center


Upcoming Exhibits

Online Exhibits


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Current Exhibit

Before Memories Fade
December 13 — February 22

Before Memories Fade

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The 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.

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

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