JAMsj E-News
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
June 2011
In This Issue
Kiyo's Story
Japanese History: In Salinas Chinatown
Volunteer Opportunities
Community Calendar
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JAMsj Blog
JAMsj Youth Page

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Day of Remembrance Candlelighting Ceremony

Photo courtesy of Andy Frazer

Recently, there were several articles in the media about JAMsj volunteer Andy Frazer and his photographic project, "Kioku: Portraits of Japanese American Internees." Andy's celebrated work also incorporates short biographies of his subjects and  compelling audio clips. His blog can be seen here.

George Ishikawa

George Ishikawa. Photograph courtesy of Andy Frazer.

"They had the gumption to say 'We're not protected by the Constitution so we have the right to ask for our rights to be restored.'"  -- George Ishikawa, referring to the Heart Mountain resisters (from Andy Frazer's Kioku Project).

Saturday Serials Postponed 

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) and Contemporary Asian Theater Scene (CATS) announce the postponement of the "Saturday Serials" film series.  The dates for the television series, "99 Years of Love," that was to be shown at JAMsj during June and July, will be rescheduled shortly and there will be a future announcement.  We apologize for any inconvenience.


  Kiyo's Story 


Kiyo's Story

By Kiyo Sato


Kiyo's Story book cover 


Author's Book Talk

1:00 p.m., July 23, 2011   


JAMsj/Yu-Ai Kai Book Club  

1:00 p.m., August 5, 2011


Both events will be take place at: 

Japanese American Museum of San Jose 

535 N. Fifth Street

San Jose, CA 95112

This summer, JAMsj will host two events that are centered around Kiyo Sato's unforgettable and touching memoir, Kiyo's Story. On July 23, 2011, Kiyo will discuss the memoir that won her the William Saroyan International Prize for non-fiction in 2008. On August 5, 2011, the JAMsj/Yu-Ai Kai Book Club will discuss member reactions to the book.


The Author's Book Talk is free for JAMsj members and $5 for non-members.  There is no charge for attending the JAMsj/Yu-Ai Kai Book Club event. 




Kiyo's father arrived in California determined to plant his roots in the land of opportunity after leaving Japan. He, his wife, and their nine American-born children labored in the fields together, building a successful farm. Yet at the outbreak of World War II, Kiyo's family was sent to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona. This memoir tells the story of the family's struggle to endure the harsh conditions in camp and to rebuild their lives in the face of lingering prejudice after the war.


The book club meets the first Friday of every other month and is always open to new members. Selections are chosen collaboratively at the end of each meeting and align with the JAMsj mission: the celebration of Japanese American art, history, and culture. Books are available at public libraries and for purchase in the JAMsj museum store. If you have questions, please contact Aggie Idemoto at  aggie@jamsj.org or (408) 268-4440.


Japanese History: In Salinas Chinatown


At the opening reception for the exhibition, Japanese History: In Salinas Chinatown, former JAMsj board member, Ann Muto, read selected poems from her book, Open Passage. In this article, guest curator, Mae Sakasegawa, reflects on the exhibition that runs until July 17,2011 at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.


Japanese History: In Salinas Chinatown

By Mae Sakasegawa


Salinas Exhibit 

It has been a privilege and pleasure for Fran Schwann and me to be guest curators of this special exhibition. We also worked closely with Deborah Silguero, curator of the National Steinbeck Center.  


Through this exhibition, Salinas' Chinatown history continues to be told from the perspective of the Japanese community, as related in the accounts of its members. The exhibition covers the period starting from the late 19th century, when the first Japanese immigrants came to work in the local sugar beet fields, and follows their progress in building a cohesive community through their hard work and perseverance. As you walk through the exhibition, you will get a genuine feel for the vibrant community that once was.



From the artifacts and photographs, we have woven a story where you can see the Japanese community grow and start to prosper. You will get a sense that the families were starting to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. And you will learn of the Isseis' determination to make a better life for their children. 


Their journey took an abrupt turn with the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, when all Japanese citizens and legal aliens were ordered to evacuate California, Oregon, Washington, and southern Arizona, and sent to concentration camps located in remote areas of the United States. Everything that was carefully built up was suddenly taken away.


In a few days Salinas' Japantown simply disappeared.  Read rest of article on our blog... 


Salinas Nihomachi Exhibit  



The National Steinbeck Center is located at One Main Street, Salinas, CA 93901.  The exhibition, Japanese History: In Salinas Chinatown runs until July 17, 2011.


Volunteer Opportunities

There are many volunteer opportunities available at JAMsj. We have a special need for docents who can guide visitors through the exhibit gallery or can lead Japantown walking tours. There are no skills required besides having a great attitude and a passion for telling the Japanese American story. 
Docents Kevin Nii and Grace Grace-Sonia Melanio
JAMsj docents, Kevin Nii and Grace-Sonia Melanio.



"I'm a Yonsei, a 4th generation Japanese American, and Japanese Americans have a long, unique history that many young people do not know about. I think that there is an important story to tell. There are parallels between the discrimination that Japanese  Americans felt and  the plight of Muslim Americans. If more people had this understanding, they may be more disturbed by current events."

-- Kevin Nii, JAMsj volunteer docent  


There are many other ways to help JAMsj as a volunteer. Remember that volunteering for the museum is a great way to add valuable work experience to your resume when you are between jobs.     

Help is desired in many exciting areas.
We have immediate openings, as follows:
  • Museum store 
  • Docents
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Event coordinators and assistants
  • Fundraisers
Other positions are also available. Click here for more information about our exciting opportunities.

Join the JAMsj family by becoming a volunteer!  Submit the online volunteer form from our website or call our office at (408) 294-3138 to request a hard copy of the application form.

Calendar of Events 

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Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj)
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: (408) 294-3138
Email: mail@jamsj.org