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Japanese American Internment Memorial

Artist: Ruth Asawa (1994)

This bronze bas-relief, located outside the Federal Building, is a reminder of the injustices committed against the Japanese American people and of their strength of spirit. On one side of the memorial the panels depict life prior to the internment, showing a robust, prosperous community. The other side portrays various aspects of the history and reality of life in the internment camps. There are images of Franklin Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 issuing the internment policy, notices for internment being sent to people of Japanese ancestry, the daily of life of the camps, and adjustment after the war. The final panel portrays the 1988 Redress in which a formal apology and compensation was issued to every survivor. In a column at the end of the wall, many "mon" (traditional family crests) sent in by community members are also displayed.

The memorial visualizes the inhumanity and strife of the internment camps and reminds the public that fear of the “other” can lead to broad spread racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

District: 3

Report a Concern: (408) 793-04330 or publicart@sanjoseca.gov.

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Public Art - Japanese American Internment Memorial - 2
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Public Art - Japanese American Internment Memorial - 4

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