Sharing and preserving Japanese American history and culture in Portland's Old Town neighborhood, where Japantown once thrived.
(photo courtesy Rich Iwasaki, 2004)
Group tours of the Japanese American Historical Plaza, speaking engagements for classrooms or other community groups, and research appointments at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon are available. Learn more on our Education and Resources and Services page.
To schedule or for more information:
As of January 1, 2020, the new name for Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is Japanese American Museum of Oregon.
Our Lighting the Legacy capital campaign is still going! Donate here, or visit our Lighting the Legacy page for more information.
The Japanese American Museum of Oregon is incredibly grateful to the Oregon Legislature, Oregon Cultural Trust, and Multnomah County Cultural Coalition for Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support funding. This support has helped us navigate the challenges and ease the financial hardships of this global pandemic.
News and Events:
New Exhibit at Portland Japanese Garden
Healing Nature: Gardens and Art of Manzanar
Featuring objects from the Japanese American Museum of Oregon's collection
on display through January 31, 2021
The Japanese American Museum of Oregon has loaned 11 objects from our permanent collection for the Portland Japanese Garden's new exhibition, Healing Nature: Gardens and Art of Manzanar. This exhibit features images taken by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Toyo Miyatake and highlights gardens created by the Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Manzanar camp in California.
Virtual Panel Discussion – December 18, 5-6pm
Free and open to the public
Bridging the Past and Future: Nikkei Cultural Legacies in America and the Evolving Role of Japanese Cultural Institutions
This panel discussion will address the extent to which the WWII incarceration camps have impacted successive generations of Japanese Americans. Speakers include Daniel Okimoto, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Stanford University; Karen Ishizuka, PhD, Chief Curator at the Japanese American National Museum; and June Arima Schumann, social justice advocate and founding director of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. This panel will also examine the changing role of Japanese American museums and organizations as catalysts that bridge together generations, cultures, and perspectives, with hope for peace and mutual understanding. Register at japanesegarden.org.
The items on loan from the Japanese American Museum of Oregon were primarily made in the Minidoka concentration camp, where most Portland-area Nikkei were incarcerated. These objects include carvings, paintings on wood, embroidery, and a butsudan (Buddhist altar) pieced together from discarded fruit crates.
Go to japanesegarden.org to learn more.
Minoru Yasui Student Contest 2021
Refugee and Immigrant Experiences
This year’s contest theme explores the experiences of refugees and immigrants coming to the United States: the challenges they have faced, the support they have received, the contributions they have made, and the impact this topic as made on you, all in the spirit of Min Yasui’s life work.
The Minoru Yasui Essay Contest is open to all students in the United States and territories attending public, private, parochial, or home school. Members of the Minoru Yasui Legacy Project and their families are not eligible to participate.
Junior Division: open to all students in 8th grade or below as of October 2020.
Senior Division: open to all students in 9th grade or above as of October 2020.
More information soon!
Visit our Min Yasui page to learn more about the contest.
Oshu Nippo Translation Project
In December 2017, Oregon Nikkei Endowment received an Oregon Heritage grant to translate ten special issues of the Oshu Nippo (Oregon Daily News), a Japanese newspaper printed in Portland's Japantown from 1906–1953. Professional translators from the Portland law firm Lane Powell, volunteers from Sapporo (Portland's sister city in Japan), and local Portland volunteers helped with the tremendous task of translating these rare documents that provide an inside look at the lives of Japanese immigrants in Portland in the early part of the 20th century.
This project has taken over a year to complete and involved the generous support of the Oregon Heritage Commission and the law of firm of Lane Powell. Special thanks to Yoko Gulde, Naomi Diffley of Lane Powell, Henry Ueno, Santiago Ravello, and Colin Takeo who helped get this project off the ground.
Please visit our Oshu Nippo page to learn more about the project, view the translations and pages from the original newspapers, and learn about the history of the Oshu Nippo.
Collections Up Close 2020:
On display through March 15, 2020
Japanese American Museum of Oregon's gallery has become an archival processing center to inventory, catalog, and photograph our permanent collection. This is an opportunity to observe collections staff and volunteers at work during the collections process, as well as to view never-before-seen artifacts from our collection that will be displayed in small rotating exhibitions.
This month's collection focus was Anzen artifacts donated by the Matsushima family. Anzen, previously known as Teikoku Company, operated from 1905 to 2014 and was one of the longest running Japanese American businesses in Portland.
Museum in a Suitcase
Japanese American Museum of Oregon has developed a teaching aid for use in classroom presentations called Museum in a Suitcase. Our speakers will share the Japanese American experience in Oregon with your students by
bringing exhibits (visual images and artifacts) in a suitcase to your classroom. The exhibits cover the following topics: immigration, life in Portland's Japantown, and the WWII incarceration story. For more information, contact the Japanese American Museum of Oregon at 503-224-1458.
Tour our permanent exhibit:
To get involved in these activities, please contact Japanese American Museum of Oregon: