Resistance & Resiliency: Accounts from Japanese American Incarceration Camps of WWII

a 1930s coupe automobile sits in front of a grocer with a sign above that says "I am an American" and another that says "sold"

Image credit: Lange, Dorothea, Japanese American Grocer. 1942 Mar. Photographic print. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Accessed via the Library of Congress PPOC. Accessed 4 Mar. 2020

Date and Time

Thu, Dec 1, 2022 - 5:00pm


  • 5 p.m. Welcome & Introduction in Fine Arts Room 238
  • 5:15 Fumio Otsu
  • 5:45 Gail Kuromiya
  • 6:15 Q&A with presenters
  • 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. move to Western Gallery for Closing Reception of Noguchi exhibition

Western Gallery presents: "Resistance & Resiliency: Accounts from Japanese American Incarceration Camps of WWII." This event welcomes two representatives of Nikkei Northwest, Fumio Otsu and Gail Kuromiya, to speak about the Japanese Incarceration Camps of World War II.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, President Roosevelt signed into effect Executive Order 9066: permitting the mass evacuation and incarceration of Japanese Americans into so-called ‘relocation camps.’ Between 1942-1946 over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were forcibly detained in camps throughout the United States. Though this period left deep wounds on the Japanese American community, it also rendered incredible stories of resistance and resiliency by Japanese Americans in the face of impossible circumstances. Shaped by their extensive knowledge and personal family histories, Fumio and Gail will give talks sharing historical context, images, and stories from the camps.

This lecture is held in conjunction with the Western Gallery’s current exhibition Looking Up: The Skyviewing Sculptures of Isamu Noguchi. Following the lectures, please join us for a closing reception of the exhibition from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Western Gallery. The reception and lectures are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

About Nikkei Northwest

Nikkei Northwest (formerly Sansei Heritage Group) was formed in 2015 by seven Whatcom County residents for anyone interested in Japanese and Japanese American heritage. The core group of 7 are all “sansei’s” – grandchildren of Japanese immigrants to North America. We were all raised outside Whatcom County (primarily the Seattle area and Southern California) but some of us have raised our families here.

Our original focus was on the experiences of the Issei (our grandparents/first generation), Nisei (our parents – mostly born in the US/second generation) and Sansei (ourselves/third generation) for the period before, during, and after WWII. That has evolved into our current mission which is “educating ourselves and others and honoring our Japanese American roots.” In general, “Nikkei” refers to anyone of Japanese ancestry regardless of generation or place of birth.

An aged black and white snapshot of ranks of barracks buildings against steep, aired snowcapped mountains.

Manzanar Camp

A photo of Manzanar Camp courtesy of Nikkei Northwest.

In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where the US government incarcerated Japanese immigrants ineligible for citizenship and Japanese American citizens during World War II.

Events and exhibitions are free and open to the public unless stated otherwise. Visitor information