The legacy of Japanese American incarceration appears in popular culture in many ways from museum exhibits and rock songs to Broadway musicals. This is an introduction to some of the cultural artifacts that preserve this event and present it to new generations.
- The Art of Gaman showcases the crafts of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during WWII. The artists worked with the materials at hand, so the crafts vary from elaborate shell brooches at camps that were sited on ancient seabeds to wood carvings and furniture made at camps with nearby forests. In many cases, the incarcerees had not been artists before their years in camp and did not continue their creative work once they were released.
- The National Parks Conservation Association features a first-person account of “The Art of Gaman” from Delphine Hirasuna.
- Densho Encyclopedia: Arts & Crafts in Camp offers more detailed information on artistic production in the camps.
- Fort Minor is the solo side project of rock band Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, who is of Japanese American descent. The song Kenji was released in 2005 and is a narrative of a Japanese family who is sent to an internment camp, based on his real family history. The song includes excerpts of interviews from his father and aunt, who were interned. Available here is the genius lyric explanation, and a video posted in 2012 by a student.
- Manzanar, written by Tom Russell and performed here by Tom Russell and Laurie Lewis, is about the Japanese-American incarceration. Originally released in 1993 on Russell’s album Box of Visions, the song has been covered by Laurie Lewis as well as the Runaways. Lyrics located here.
- Kiri’s Piano by Canadian folk musician James Keelaghan is a fictionalized historical piece based on the real life of a Japanese-Canadian woman whose family was torn apart by forced relocation and internment. The song also inspired a short film by France Benoit, which can be viewed here. (Lyrics may be found here.)
- Buzzfeed and Densho.org cooperated to make this video in which Japanese-Americans visit Manzanar.
- Fred Korematsu’s Supreme Court case, and Korematsu’s bravery in challenging Executive Order 9066, is a crucial part of 20th century American legal history.
- FEPOW (Far East Prisoners of War) website is an excellent resource with links to other projects.
- COFEPOW (Children of Far East Prisoners of War) website grew out of FEPOW and offers an online community for descendants of World War II POWs and Allied internees in the Pacific.
- This link is a personal gallery of a user’s father’s photographs from his time served in the Pacific War. (The language use reflects the perspective of an American combat veteran during that time.)
- Children of the Camps: a Japanese American focused project detailing the trauma of internment via a six-part documentary, a timeline, and historical documents.