JAMsj E-News
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
November 2011
In This Issue
JAMsj Winter Boutique
Agricultural Exhibit Grand Opening
Congressional Gold Medal
JAMsj Docent Training
JAMsj Calendar of Events
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Be a JAMsj volunteer!

Photo: JAMsj Volunteers
Are you interested in becoming a JAMsj volunteer? Contact  volunteeradmin@jamsj.org
or visit our volunteer page.

Classic Rock
The Classic Rock, located in San Jose Japantown, donated this exquisite, white freshwater, rope pearl necklace for the Winter Boutique silent auction.

If you sign up for a JAMsj membership at the Winter Boutique, you will receive a complimentary bag of toffee from R&J Toffees.
Read about how Ryan and Joel decided to continue the toffee-making tradition of their grandfather, a 442nd veteran here.

 JAMsj Winter Boutique  

Stoneware plate
"PLUM BLOSSOM" stoneware plate. Artisan Jeannine Calcagno Niehaus will make her first appearance at the 2011 JAMsj Winter Boutique.


JAMsj Winter Boutique

November 12, 2011

 Early entry for JAMsj members: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
General public: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  

 San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

640 N.  5th Street
San Jose, CA 95112


Please do not contact the Buddhist Church for information about this event. Please contact JAMsj if you have questions.  


The 2011 Winter Boutique will feature annual favorites including Japanese-style collages, clothing, hand-crafted jewelry, Japanese folk dolls, washi crafts, stationery, stoneware pottery, and many more specialty gifts!     

 Farewell to Manzanar


Our boutique is proud to offer two author book signings. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of Farewell to Manzanar, will be signing books from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  






Author Ann Muto
Author Ann Muto



Jeanne will be followed by Ann Muto, author of Open Passage, signing her book of personal poetry from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.   




Avoid the shopping rush by becoming a JAMsj member. A JAMsj membership gives you early entrance privileges. If you come early and sign-up for museum membership, you can enter the boutique at 9:00 a.m.  Hours for the general public will be from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   This is your chance to shop, socialize, have fun, and help support JAMsj!

Agricultural Exhibit Grand Opening
Curator Jimi Yamaichi stands next to an antique Republic truck

Yesterday's Farmer:
Planting an American Dream


By Joe Yasutake

For the past several months, JAMsj curator Jimi Yamaichi and a crew of dedicated volunteers, including Glenn Tsutsumi, Warren Iwamura, Ken Hirano, David Mishima, and Michael Serra, have been working feverishly on the new agricultural exhibit, "Yesterday's Farmer: Planting an American Dream,"  that will be unveiled on December 10, 2011. The outdoor exhibit highlights the important contributions of Nikkei farmers to California's agricultural history. 

Photo: Japanese Legacy Book
The origins of this exhibit can be traced to two of JAMsj's cofounders, Eiichi Sakauye, a prominent San Jose farmer and local historian, and Dr. Gary Okihiro. Dr. Okihiro's pioneering book, "Japanese Legacy: Farming and Community Life in California's Santa Clara Valley," and his groundbreaking research formed the foundation for the birth of JAMsj.


Agriculture was a big part of the Japanese American story in the Bay Area. The arrival of the Issei (first-generation Japanese in America) in the 1880s started a significant  evolution in farming techniques, which eventually led to larger yields, higher quality, and less expensive produce on the West Coast.   



Ken Hirano
Ken Hirano is one of several volunteers  working long hours on the new exhibit.
"For the Issei and the older Nisei (second-generation Japanese in America), farming was their livelihood and we want this exhibit to show how they really lived that life, " Yamaichi explained. "We want to tell their story, where all the farms were, and how it was."



In spite of the fact that Japanese American farmers made up less that 2 percent of all farmers in California, at one point, they were responsible for 40 percent of all vegetables grown in the state, including more than 90 percent of all tomatoes, celery, strawberries, and peppers.


Although the new agricultural exhibit is very different from the other displays that are focused on the Japanese American internment, the exhibit is also an integral part of the same narrative. "Some people felt we were controlling too much of those farming industries," Yamaichi said.  "It definitely stirred up resentment and racism, which contributed to the eventual internment."

Photo: Eiichi on tractor 2002
Eiichi Sakauye transports his tractor from the Sakauye farm to its new home at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose in 2002


The exhibition features historic farm equipment and vehicles donated by Eiichi Sakayue and his family.  On display will be a 1917 Republic  truck, two Model T Fords from the 1920s, and a variety of rare tractors used at  the Sakauye farm.



The opening ceremonies for "Yesterday's Farmer: Planting an American Dream"  will take place at 10:00 a.m. on December 10, 2011. The venue for the grand opening will be announced in the next edition of the JAMsj E-News. 




Congressional Gold Medal
Gold Medal Ceremony
Congressional Gold Medals were awarded to the 100th, 442nd, and MIS military units on November 2, 2011. You can watch a replay of the ceremony on C-Span here.

On November 2, 2011, Congress held a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony to honor Japanese American veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, as well as the Military Intelligence Service (MIS).

Early next year, there will be a local event to honor the members of the 100th, 442nd, and the MIS. We are seeking veterans of these units, or their widows or family members, who were unable to attend the November 2 Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington D.C.

If you are interested in attending the local event, please contact the JAMsj office at (408) 294-3138 or email us at joe@jamsj.org.  Click here for more information.


JAMsj Docent Training

JAMsj Docent Training

December 3, 2011
1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

535 N. Fifth Street

San Jose, CA 95112 


michael sera
JAMsj docent Michael Sera




"I've been very fortunate to have several internees visit and tour the museum with me. They've shared their own experiences and I've been able to integrate their stories into my tour. Learning from real life experiences is invaluable. It beats any book that you can read!"  

--- Michael Sera






What is a docent?


Docents are volunteers who interpret and communicate our educational message to the public during museum tours. There are no prerequisites to be a JAMsj docent. All we want are dependable and enthusiastic people who are willing to learn.  


Why become a docent?


In addition to the satisfaction of providing a valuable community service, you'll receive continuing education with expert instruction, a broad assortment of instructional materials, access to our research library, and special invitations to docent events.


Register for a docent training workshop 

If you have questions or wish to register for a workshop, contact Aggie Idemoto, Education Director, at aggieidemoto@gmail.com or (408) 268-4440. If you would like to become a JAMsj volunteer, submit the online volunteer registration form or request a hard copy of the form by contacting the JAMsj office at (408) 294-3138.  


JAMsj Calendar of Events 

November 12, 2011: JAMsj Winter Boutique
December 3, 2011: JAMsj Docent Training

JAMsj Logo

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