"Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment" Exhibit

November 05, 2015 at 4pm - 6pm
Yale University - Sterling Memorial Library Memorabilia Room

While we are preparing to welcome the 2015 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders to Tokyo, here are some updates from Courtney Sato, a 2013 Emerging Leader. She is working on a Yale exhibit that is soon opening--and her ideas originated at the 2013 Annual Conference! We thank her for her contributions to the following article.

"Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment" Exhibit
Curated by Courtney Sato, ELP '13

November 2, 2015 - February 26, 2016

Yale University - Sterling Memorial Library Memorabilia Room
120 High Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Enter through the 128 Wall Street Door and the Memorabilia Room will be to the right
Open Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:45 pm


Opening Reception: Thursday, November 5 (4-6 pm) in the Sterling Memorial Lecture Hall & Memorabilia Room

The opening reception will feature a brief lecture on internment by Columbia University historian Gary Okihiro and remarks by former internee Yonekazu Satoda, whose diary is featured in the exhibit. A viewing of the exhibit and a light reception will follow.

After more than a year of curatorial work, the exhibition “Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment” will open at Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library next week. This is Yale Library’s inaugural exhibition to draw from multiple archives across the university. It is also the first-ever exhibit centered on Asian American history.

The exhibit can be traced back to the 2013 USJC Annual Conference in Washington, DC. At the conference, USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa introduced Courtney Sato (ELP '13) to Council Member Delphine Hirasuna, curator of the exhibit “The Art of Gaman.” After meeting Ms. Hirasuna, Ms. Sato began research to identify internment materials already housed in Yale’s collections. She quickly uncovered a vast but largely unknown collection of materials related to internment.

Ms. Sato preparing for the exhibition

Yale’s collections include official WRA and government documents, as well as a range of internee correspondence, artwork and literature. Of particular note are a number of original Ansel Adams photographs of Manzanar developed by Adams’s longtime printer Alan Ross, watercolor paintings by Charles Erabu “Suiko” Mikami, student scrapbooks, artwork and high school yearbooks. The exhibit also highlights materials related to resettlement on the East Coast. Through an exploration of the central themes of resilience and memory, this exhibit underscores the importance of everyday creative production and alternative narratives of internment.

A digital touchscreen exhibit will debut at the opening reception on November 5th and will go live at outofthedesert.yale.edu shortly thereafter. Visitors to the website will be able to scroll through exhibit materials including a copy of the 1943-1944 Manzanar High School Yearbook, engineering maps of Poston, correspondence between internees and Quaker activists, and handmade Junior Red Cross scrapbooks.

The exhibition will run from November 2, 2015 through February 26, 2016. The USJC community is invited to the exhibition opening reception on Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 4-6 pm in the Sterling Memorial Lecture Hall & Memorabilia Room. Day of Remembrance programming to be held in February 2016 will be announced closer to the date on the exhibition website (outofthedesert.yale.edu).