Since 1981, NJAHS has produced groundbreaking exhibitions both in its own Gallery as well as in numerous larger venues such as the Oakland Museum of California, the Smithsonian Institution and the Bishop Museum, among others.

Several of NJAHS’ exhibitions toured the country. NJAHS’ art exhibits and programs have explored topics such as the history of Japanese American women over the last century; photography and artwork from the World War II American concentration camps, Japanese Americans in popular music and the art work of Japanese and Korean women.

Past exhibitions include Transforming Kami: The Art of Origami; Chimu ni Sumiri: The Heart to Heart Journey of Okinawan Culture and Nikkei Reflections: Continuing the Connections with Cuban Nikkei.




2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the Executive Order 9066. This presidential order, signed by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, gave the military full authority and set into motion a series of exclusionary orders leading to the eventual mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast. Under the guise of military necessity, the incarcerees, two-thirds of them were American citizens whose average age was nineteen, were forcibly removed from their homes, detained and imprisoned behind barbed wire for the duration of the war. On this anniversary, we present CHILDREN OF THE CAMPS, a chilling account of the children, now in their 80’s and 90’s whose lives were abruptly interrupted and who bore witness to one of the gravest constitutional violations in the 20th century.






Prejudice & Patriotism: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service

November 1, 2016 marked  the 75th anniversary of the first US Arwacs-and-wanto-facing-se-081914my Language School at the Presidio of San Francisco. Against the spectacular backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, is the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center at Crissy Field in the Presidio of SF. Within these walls, is a permanent exhibit Prejudice & Patriotism: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service. Supplementing this exhibition is a framed photographic exhibit on the Nisei Soldier in the MIS. Come inside and discover.











Carrying ON: 110 Years of San Francisco’s Japantown


2016 marks the 110th anniversary of San Francisco’s Japantown in the Western Addition. NJAHS brings to light the history of one of the oldest Japantowns that has survived over a century of discrimination, dislocation & urban renewal. Colorful banner panels illustrate the narrative with historic photographs, maps &  oral history quotes. On display through January 31, 2017.



Latent August: Legacy Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

Produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society, Inc., this exhibition combines history, memory, and art to present a 50 year retrospective on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Its purpose is to engage the American public in an examination of the converging historical forces that led to the use of the bomb and its aftermath.

A special feature of the exhibit is the wartime experiences of Japanese Americans from California. As Americans of Japanese ancestry, they offer insight into the complex nature of how Americans view the legacy of the atomic bomb 50 years later.

Photo Credits:
Little Boy with Rice Ball. Nagasaki, August 10, 1945. Photo by Yosuke Yamahata, Shogo Yamahata.

Location: Richmond Museum of History / 400 Nevin Avenue / Richmond, CA 94801 / Quilts of the Home Front Exhibit / Open until June 30, 2014

RMH_QuiltsForTheHomeFront_0405-3169127085-O - Copy style=The Richmond Museum of History is currently hosting Quilts of the Homefront, an exhibition showcasing quilts inspired by the American home front experience during WWII made by 30 Bay Area artists who entered into the WWII Home Front Quilts Project 2014 challenge!

The National Japanese American Historical Society has loaned two quilts to the exhibition:

• A quilt made by the fourth grade students of teacher Masako Hirata while interned at Poston Relocation Center during WWII.
• Threads of Remembrance, a 3-piece quilt made by 15 former Japanese American internee women

Now open until June 30, 2014 due to the overwhelmingly positive response!

The Favell Museum in Klamath Falls, Oregon is the home of traveling exhibit The Art of Survival: Enduring the Turmoil of Tule Lake until the end of July, 2014.

artofsurvival 11 -thumbThe exhibit features the black & white photographs of camp artifacts taken by fine art photographer Hiroshi Watanabe, accompanied by a number of loaned objects from Tule Lake incarcerees.

Excerpted from
“Through haunting images of artifacts by fine art photographer Hiroshi Watanabe we glimpse into the lives of those who were held at Tule Lake and are encouraged to consider both the orchestration of daily life behind barbed wire and what it might have been like to live with constant turmoil and uncertainty. Oral histories allow us to hear varying views on some of the complex issues of Tule Lake in the voices of those held captive. And the art created both then and now, made from seemingly insignificant objects, beckons humility and connection.

Promoting education and increased awareness of what can happen when a nation loses reason to fear, this exhibition is designed to inspire critical thinking and action in regards to injustice. It also highlights the power of creativity to maintain dignity and well-being in times of harsh circumstance.

As well as looking at daily life, the exhibition explores the following topics: the power of propaganda; up-to-date terminology relating to the confinement experience; the history behind the incarceration; the difference between a Segregation Center and a Confinement Site; who were the people deemed “disloyal”, were they disloyal?; what happened when the Camp closed?”

Favell Museum Website.

Traveling Exhibit Website.

A Special Project Documenting, Collecting, And Cataloguing Arts & Crafts, Historic Artifacts, And Objects Created In The Internment Camps During WWII.

Mount Williamson, cropped reduced

See the Objects (updated)

Sa sa e (n.) [pron. SAH-SAH-EH] / a support or bearer of weight (translated from the Japanese definition).

Since late 2009, the National Japanese American Historical Society, Inc. (NJAHS) has worked in collaboration with Japanese American communities and Japanese American Citizens League Chapters throughout the Bay Area on a special project documenting, collecting, and cataloguing various arts & crafts, historic artifacts, and objects created in the internment camps during WWII.

We have received an enormous response and enthusiastic participation, namely from the descendants – children, grandchildren – of Japanese American internees living in northern Californian communities including Penryn, Salinas, and San Francisco. They have generously shared their stories and experiences, helping us create a catalogue and database of these objects in an effort to preserve and cherish their legacy. NJAHS has been able to gather up to 50 new works attributed to these camp objects, many of which will be accessible through our website via our online database.

Created from found, raw materials of their immediate surroundings, many of these objects are hand crafted everyday items: a dresser made of wood planks from crates, flower sculptures made from pipe cleaners, decorative hair pins created from small shells, hand-painted bird carvings made of pieces of wood. These objects have now upheld a deeper and more personal meaning, each with its own lifetime worth of stories. They were created in an effort to find beauty in struggle and strength during a time of adversity; the objects themselves represent the trauma of displacement and efforts to adapt to times of prejudice and war. Yet we find beauty, creativity, and even functionality in several of these objects, collectively known as Sa sa e, or Objects of Memory.

This summer, NJAHS is proud to present an exhibition celebrating these camp objects. Sa sa e |Objects of Memory will be located within our Peace Gallery and will feature several of the arts & crafts seen in the above database in addition to other objects from NJAHS’ permanent collection. Please continue to visit our website for updated information.

California Civil Liberties Public Education Program