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Japanese Museum Essay, Research Paper

The museum I visited was the Japanese-American National Museum in Little Tokyo. I kind of excited when I visited the Japanese-American National Museum because it was my first time to go to museum. I felt that Japanese-American Museum was really exquisite in its presentation. Overall, this museum was very interesting in the way it presented their respective heritages.

When I first arrived near the Japanese-American National Museum, the museum was eye-catching. A new museum that opened up only months ago, its structure was beautifully sculpted in side and out. I really admired the way the museum presented itself to visitors and its display of such items like the barracks of the World War II internment camps.

The first images I saw were the pictures of Japanese-Americans who had a part in the planning and construction of this museum. In the caption inscribed below the picture, the opinions of those in it were given about their experience being a Japanese-American, because either their parents or themselves were onetime residents of the concentration camps of World War II. Many of their reactions included being alienated because of what the motherland had done, which was the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

While in class, we learned that Japanese Americans were put into internment camps during the Second World War. The cause of the so-called imprisonment was the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which caused the U.S. government to take swift action. They perceived Japanese-Americans living in areas such as California and Hawaii as a threat to national security, thinking they would create chaos on national soil since the enemy had attacked a location so close to the mainland.

With the moving of the many Japanese-American families, many of the community members were arrested during this course of the war, fearing that they might be loyalists, and spread that propaganda to the rest of the community. Also, the many Japanese-American families had to vacate their houses and businesses before they were bussed off to the internment camps. Many of these camps were located in the deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and even far out states like Idaho. Apparently, the Japanese-Americans were put into these camps for no real reason, except for the fact that the government was ?fearful?.

It was really neat to actually see one of the barracks used to house the Japanese-Americans during the war. They were kind of big, but each unit housed at least two families or more. The government only put the Japanese-Americans here because they were perceived to be a threat to the country. Even after the war that the Japanese had to start their lives all over again. Their houses and concentration camps. It was not until decades later that the government officially gave an apology to some of the surviving Japanese-Americans who had lived in the camps. Many were given recognition, while some others were given monetary settlements by the government.

Many Americans had lost loved ones serving in our country in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. With the strong sentiment about the Japanese during the war, it also brought about racism against the Japanese-Americans. There was a black and white photograph of Japanese schoolgirls in America. Like African-Americans, they were looked down upon and were put into segregated schools. They also had nicknames given to them by Anglos, which were slang in nature. The term ?Jap? was first used at this time. A sign in one of the exhibits read ?No Japs allowed in our school.? This obviously was put up at one of the schools in the areas where many Japanese-Americans lived during that time. I thought that was very racist. In Museum, I also saw term ?Issei? refers to first generation American-born Japanese, while ?Nisei? refers to the second generation, and so forth. These terms correspond to the Japanese language way of numbering. I feel that these words are very important to Japanese-Americans because in the museum, these two words were placed to show that these particular Japanese were born in the United States and not in Japan.

My visit to this museum were very educational and a great learning experience as far as learning about different cultures. The big overlap between what I saw at the museums and in our class was very apparent. I learned about Japanese-American heritage and how they cultivated in the United States. This culture was oppressed by mainstream society, but was able to overcome their hardships in their respective ways. The Japanese endured the anger of the nation during World War II. With this knowledge in mind, I learn to appreciate my own heritage much more.


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