The Japanese American Experience During WWII

Japanese first began emigrating to America in 1885, when laborers were allowed to sail to Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. They faced many of the same challenges and racism as the Chinese immigrants before them, yet they started families and had children. When Pearl Harbor was bombed and World War II began, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, allowing the US military to round up 120,000 people of Japanese descent (more than 50% were US-born American citizens) and send them to concentration camps in desolate areas of Western states and Arkansas. On Tuesday, December 7 at 6:30pm, Author Gil Asakawa will present the history of the Japanese American community and explain the high price these concentration camp survivors paid in trans-generational trauma.

Gil Asakawa is a journalist, editor, author and blogger who covers Japan, Japanese American, Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural and social justice issues as well as a nationally-known speaker, panelist and expert on Japanese American history and Asian American identity. Having written for publications including Rolling Stone and Newsweek Japan, he has authored a number of books and has been a consultant for organizations focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion within their institutions. Because of his extensive and pioneering work, he has received the “Voice Award” from the Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA.) He is currently working on his latest book Tabemasho! Let’s Eat! (Stone Bridge Press), a history of Japanese food in America which will be published in 2022.

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