August 7, 2010

2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage Pictures

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:55 pm by rkozu

Here’s links to various sites where pictures from the 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage have been posted!

Feel free to browse and use for your own personal usage but if you wish to use pictures for commercial purposes please contact us at: for more information.

Ryan Kozu:

Eugene Tagawa:

Byron Kato:

Reflection Poem by Rachel Seeman

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka Swing Band tagged , , , at 8:41 pm by rkozu

Rachel Seeman, a member of the Minidoka Swing Band and a participant on the 2008 Minidoka Pilgrimage wrote the following poem based upon her experiences at that pilgrimage.  This poem was read at the 2010 Pilgrimage by Lynn Grannan.  We’re grateful that she’s been willing to share it with other Minidoka Pilgrimage.


But how can I tell their story
If I was not there?
How can I feel their pain and the injustice that they faced
If I was not there?
I do not know how it feels to be told that you must leave your home, friends, pets and community in five days
I don’t know how it feels to sell my business for $200
and to leave my crops and dog to strangers
I don’t know how it feels to have my family broken apart and to live without privacy in a desert
But I do know how it feels to be a proud Japanese American
To know that the Minidoka desert was turned to lush green fields by my ancestors
And to know that because of the hardships they faced
I now have more rights and opportunities
I know how it feels to be an American
I know how it feels to be Japanese American.

–Rachel Seeman

August 2, 2010

Scholarship Recipient: Janice Young reflection on 2010 pilgrimage

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:29 am by chiyokomartinez

I heard about the Minidoka Pilgrimage last year from a fellow coworker at South Seattle Community College, but was unable to attend. This year I was able to go because, I just recently graduated from school. Since I am a poor college student paying off my loans, I decided to apply for the scholarship that the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee had to offer. To my surprise, I was awarded the scholarship. This helped me a great deal and took away the financial burden.

During the bus ride, we played ice breaker games to get to know each other. As we got to know each other, folks that were once imprisoned at Minidoka shared their stories while forced to live in the camps. It is fascinating to hear the stories that were being told because each story was different.

Something that was added to the Minidoka Pilgrimage was the Civil Liberties Symposium at Crest Canyon. At the symposium, there were many interesting speakers and performances. Such as, Larry Matsuda, and Grateful Crane Ensemble, the Camp Dance: The Music and the Memories. One person I wanted to mention who I thought was really interesting was Roger Shimomura-when I first saw Mr. Shimomura on stage I thought to myself, “He looked familiar” but, didn’t know where to place him. I got to talking to people- come to find out Roger Shimomura was featured in an art exhibit called “Yellow Terror” that was displayed that the Wing Luke Art Museum. I visited the exhibit and I learned many things through collection and paintings- it was truly an eye opener. I was thrilled to be able to meet Mr. Shimomura in person.

The day to visit Camp Minidoka came- for me I felt mixed emotions. I’ve studied about the temporary concentration camps through textbooks. But to actually go the site where the camp was formally held it was quite over-whelming. During the bus ride to the camp everyone looked anxious as me- people were talking amongst themselves. Our tour guide, Emily Momohara asked those that were imprisoned at Minidoka raise their hands- about ten people did. Emily suggested that we walk with the individuals who raised their hands because they are the ones with the stories. I ended up walking with the Kashino family- Louise told her daughter Debbie that, “it was difficult for her to imagine what was what now; it was all desert before- now it was farming land.” In all honesty, it was hard for me to imagine too. But, being there and listening to all the stories that were being told was really a lot to take in. I took many pictures to educate my family and friends about the Japanese concentration camps. The stories must be kept alive. This is a part history we must not forgive has happened.

I would like to take this time and thank the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. I learned and seen so many things that weekend- too much to explain every detail on paper or for a blog- it will always be in my heart.


Janice Young is a 2010 Scholarship Recipient to the Minidoka Pilgrimage. She graduated with an Associate of Arts from South Seattle Community College and a Bachelors of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Central Washington University.

July 12, 2010

Scholarship Recipient: Bree Keaveney Reflection on 2010 Pilgrimage

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:00 pm by chiyokomartinez

What was most  meaningful for me was spending time with Japanese Americans.  Spending time with people interested in Japanese American history.  Spending time with wonderful people.  The symposium was definitely the most important event of the pilgrimage for me.  I came to terms with many thoughts and feelings I have had about identity and family and community.

I learned Issei’s and Nisei’s were not allowed to live on campus a t the University of Washington.  Most people couldn’t afford, and still can’t, Seattle University.  I learned a greater depth about how much privilege I have.  I learned about the dust storms.  I learned people committed suicide after the incarceration. I learned about the shame and pain of the Japanese American community.  I see how Japanese Incarceration has shaped my family.
Being mixed race and deprived of Japanese culture, I never felt like I was a part of the community.  But after this weekend I feel like I am.  My story is not that uncommon in the community–not being raised with Japanese culture, being mixed race.  What I have taken away from this pilgrimage is a sense of belonging to a greater Japanese community outside of my family.  It is wonderful.
Action: What I plan to do with what I learned from the Pilgirmage

I took a class called The African American Religious Experience.  My professor, Dr. Flora Wilson Bridges is a pastor, ordained in three different denominations in the Black Church.  She was very active during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.  Dr. Bridges is a key person in charge of the ecumenical practices at SU.  She essentially builds bridges between different faith traditions by fostering dialogue.  She is also an excellent teacher–I really enjoyed her class.  One of the main themes or lessons I learned from Dr. Bridges is how I can apply the three components of African American Spirituality to my life.
The three components are
1. Cultural/Historical Memory
2. Forgiveness
3. Ability to form community
I think these three components are what I can do for really anything in life.  For the Japanese American community I will learn the cultural and historical history.  I will forgive myself and my family and the United States government.  I will form community with people of Japanese ancestry, and also people who are interested in Japanese culture and history.
Another professor I greatly admire is Dr. Cornel West.  Like Dr. Bridges, Dr. West is an activist and peace maker.  He has written several books, one of the most famous is called Race Matters (1993).  I heard him speak last December in Seattle.  Dr. West was discussing his autobiography entitled: Brother West:  Living and Loving Outloud.  He kept emphasizing the importance of family and faith in his life.  Dr. West also said that anger is a good thing and that everyone should channel their anger through love and education. So I try to live his advice and Dr. Bridges’ too.
I have become angry because of cultural/historical memory, but I try my best to forgive.  Forming community helps me to channel any anger I have through love and education, which ultimately helps me to live and love out loud.

Bree Keaveney is a 2010 Scholarship Recipient to the Minidoka Pilgrimage. She will entering her third year at Seattle University, studying Global African Studies and Sociology.

July 1, 2010

Japanese-Americans share internment camp stories through comedy, music

Posted in Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , at 3:07 pm by rkozu

Japanese-Americans share internment camp stories through comedy, music

By Ben Botkin – Times-News writer | Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 1:25 am

In good times, they danced.

And when good times became bad times, they still danced, with their feet tapping floors and their eyes turned away from the barbed wire and armed guards.

That was part of reality for the Japanese-Americans residing in internment camps in the United States during World War II. It was brought back to life on Friday for the Civil Liberties & the Arts Symposium V at Canyon Crest Dining and Event Center in Twin Falls. The two-day symposium, organized by Minidoka National Historic Site, Friends of Minidoka and the College of Southern Idaho, focused on the arts and civil liberty issues stemming from the internment camps.

With comedy, dance and songs from that generation, the Los Angeles-based Grateful Crane Ensemble held the attention of about 350 people with its show, “The Camp Dance: The Music and The Memories.”

The 45-minute show had a bittersweet mood of happy high school dances that also reminded the audience of the difficulties of life in internment camps. Piano and drums brought back the music of World War II, and actors played out dance scenes based on camp life and drawn from interviews with those who lived in the camps.

They were decidedly all-American stories — like the one about the smart high school girl who doesn’t get noticed by the boy she likes, as he falls for the pretty, popular girl instead.

The story ended on a good note, though. Haruye Ioka, who played the smart, overlooked girl added a postscript to the story. Fifty years later, the smart girl saw her former competitor at a reunion and thought: “She’s no longer pretty, but I’m still smart.”

The audience laughed. The ensemble was joined by Mary Kageyama Nomura, a singer who lived in an internment camp in California as a teenager and is called the “Songbird of Manzanar.”

Difficult times were not sugar-coated. In one bit, the actors mentioned that the families lived in horse stalls that reeked of manure and had barracks with a hanging light bulb, pot-bellied stove, and metal cots with mattresses that internees had to stuff with straw.

After the show, the group took questions from the audience. Darrell Kunitomi said that it’s a reminder that in the worst of times, the best things are still needed — including the rights of all.

“We have to be the best that we can be and that is why it means so much,” he said.

Ben Botkin may be reached at or 735-3238.

Pictures from the past and present

Posted in Civil Liberties Symposium, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , at 3:02 pm by rkozu

Here’s an article that the Magic Valley Times wrote about the Civil Liberties Symposium in Twin Falls this past weekend.

Pictures from the past and present

By Ben Botkin – Times-News writer | Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010 1:00 am

They are frozen in time, these black-and-white images from a chapter of World War II sometimes overlooked amid the stories of soldiers, battles and sacrifices.

For them, it was different.

They were Americans living on U.S. soil who saw their sons off to war and welcomed them back. But as Japanese-Americans, they lived out World War II in internment camps, a decision that the federal government made for them after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Photographs from the internment camps, including nearby Minidoka, brought those images back for the audience of almost 200 on Thursday, the first day of the Civil Liberties & the Arts Symposium V at Canyon Crest Dining and Event Center in Twin Falls. The two-day symposium, organized by the Minidoka National Historic Site, Friends of Minidoka and the College of Southern Idaho, has an emphasis this year on the civil liberty issues surrounding the internment camps and the artwork shaped by that era.

“History is only important as long as you can apply the lessons you learn today,” said Emily Momohara, an artist and assistant professor from the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Momohara showed the audience photographs taken when Japanese-Americans lived in internment camps, as well as pictures taken in this generation that capture the remnants of those places.

On a large screen, photographs showed a multitude of scenes: a soldier visiting family, women waiting for returning soldiers and a baseball team posing for a photo. But some photos brought reminders of suffering: a child waiting near luggage during a move away from home, and a grandmother holding a child and preparing to leave for a camp.

The photographers of World War II came from different backgrounds. The federal government had its photographers. The Japanese-Americans weren’t permitted to have cameras, though one managed to get a camera into his camp by disassembling it and stowing the pieces throughout his luggage.

Today, photographers take images of empty internment cots and buildings, using shades of dark against the landscapes to reflect emotions. But in some photos, the human images remain, now of those who descended from the Japanese-American generation of World War II.

Ben Botkin may be reached at or 735-3238.

June 25, 2010

2010 Pilgrimage – Day 2

Posted in Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , at 6:51 am by minidokapilgrimage

Day 2 is here. Pilgrimage participants will spend the day at the Civil Liberties Symposium hearing various presentations by artists such as Roger Shimomura and Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston. Participants will also be able to attend a taiko concert put on by Portland Taiko.

June 24, 2010

Minidoka Pilgrimage Underway!

Posted in Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , at 9:13 am by minidokapilgrimage

The 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage is now underway! The buses departed Seattle (Bellevue College) bright and early this morning at 6am! Participants have been excited for this experience for many days and now it’s here!

June 12, 2010

Minidoka Pilgrimage less than 2 weeks away!

Posted in Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , at 10:17 pm by minidokapilgrimage

There’s less than 2 weeks before the 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage!  It’s still not to late to register for the pilgrimage!  However if you plan on going, you’ll need to turn in the registration forms ASAP!  There’s still limited space available!

The registration form can be found here:

June 4, 2010

Early Registration Deadline is today!

Posted in Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , at 8:27 am by minidokapilgrimage

Just a friendly reminder that the early registration deadline for the 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage is today, June 4th!  Please get your registration forms in!  Registration postmarked after today’s date will be subjected to a $20 late registration fee.

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