new japanese american museum opens in san jose

Some cool news out of the Bay Area... This weekend, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, dedicated to the story of Japanese immigrants who came to Silicon Valley in the late 19th century, opens in San Jose's Japantown. It's the only museum of its kind in Northern California: Japanese American Museum of San Jose opens this weekend.

Guests who enter the museum, at 535 N. Fifth Street, will first be greeted by a makeshift dock showing old photographs of immigrants who came by boat to California in 1890. "Picture brides," whose future husbands only knew them by photographs, have those images displayed on the wall. Donated trunks from that period are displayed artistically nearby. There are sections devoted to Japanese sports, shop owners and a video display of former Japanese Boy Scouts interned during the war. Outside, the museum boasts a collection of farm equipment used by Japanese farmers in the early 1900s.

A large section of the 6,400-square-foot museum documents the internment camps to which Japanese-Americans were banished after the Pearl Harbor bombing.

"The wartime era," Yamaichi said, "creates our different story. And this is how I show my legacy."

Recalling his family's own dark period, Yamaichi built a mock barrack, with Army-style cots and bare furnishings, so guests could get a feel for what it was like to live in the camps, scattered to such places as Wyoming, Arkansas and Arizona. It's a room that has caused internment survivors to break down into tears.
For those of you in the area, the museum's opening ceremony is on Saturday, October 16 at 1:00pm, and will feature will feature entertainment by San Jose Taiko; a blessing by board member, Reverend Byron Ishiwata; and an opportunity for the public to view the new exhibits. For more information, go to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose's website here.

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