City Club of Eugene: The Lasting Impact of the Internment of Japanese Americans

May 20, 2020

From the Ciity Club of Eugene: 

 One of the great racial stains on the history of the United States is the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II.  The forced removal from society affected adults, children, and subsequent generations who never saw the inside of the camps.  Legal historians generally consider the US Supreme Court decision upholding that internment to be one of the worst decisions the country ever made. In this program you will learn about the number of people interned, the history of the incarceration nationally, and the lingering impact on descendants of the internees.  You will also hear about how the internment was carried out here in Eugene.

One young boy in one of the camps was Roger Shimomura, who grew to be an internationally acclaimed artist and educator.  Much of his art portrays life in the camps, with haunting images of tricycles and baseball inside barbed wire.  Information about and images of his art, intended to be on display at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art through mid-June, are accessible online at the JSMA website:  https://jsma.uoregon.edu/

 

Speakers

Tara Fickle is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Oregon, and an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Ethnic Studies, the New Media and  Culture Certificate, and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her BA from Wesleyan University. Her book, The Race Card: From Gaming Technologies to Model Minorities (NYU Press, 2019), explores how games have been used to both establish and combat Asian and Asian American racial stereotypes.

Aimee Yogi graduated from the UO and worked more than 30 years at the UO Knight Library. In addition to working with the Oregon Asian Celebration, the Asian American Council, and the Sacred Heart Hospice, she has served as the president of the Japanese American Association of Lane County since 2013.  She has researched the history of the Japanese internment in Eugene and led the effort to build a memorial to the victims of the interment.

Anne Rose Kitagawa studied Asian art at Oberlin College and Princeton University and did curatorial work at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Harvard University Art Museums.  In 2010, she came to Eugene to become the Chief Curator of Collections and Asian Art and Director of Academic Programs at UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. There she is responsible for all Asian art exhibitions, publications, and programs.  Deviating from her normal curatorial duties, she organized the American exhibit featuring Shimomura’s work. This project grew out of her longtime admiration of and sensitivity to the aesthetic, social, and political issues raised by his beautiful and provocative art.

 

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