Day of Remembrance 2015

Annual Day of Remembrance (photo courtesy of George and Frank C. Hirahara Collection, Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)

To recognize the Day of Remembrance, the Museum will host a screening of the Emmy Award-winning documentary "The Legacy of Heart Mountain," which examines the Japanese American experience in a Wyoming prison camp during World War II. During the presentation the Museum will also display a softball used in Heart Mountain in addition to other artifacts used in these relocation centers. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion and a spoken-word performance by 2014 National Poetry Slam champion G. Yamazawa. 

"The Legacy of Heart Mountain" recalls the lives of Japanese Americans held captive in a Wyoming prison camp during World War II.  Ten thousand Japanese and Japanese American citizens were imprisoned there, behind barbed wire and under the watch of armed guards, solely because of their heritage. 

Featuring prisoner stories from the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, David Ono investigates what happened through one of the largest private photo collections taken by George and Frank Hirahara who had a secret dark room under their barracks.  In the years they were imprisoned, they took thousands of photographs of camp life.  Each photograph is a window into the daily struggles of American citizens, imprisoned in their own country - yet desperately attempting to live a normal life. 

This documentary features such notables as former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson and Judge Lance Ito. The film also addresses the contributions of the Nisei soldiers – the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team - who were the most highly decorated unit in U.S. military history.  It follows 442nd RCT member (KIA) Stanley Hayami’s journey, through the sketch book he left behind. It also reveals the story of imprisoned Japanese American young men who resisted the draft in protest of their country’s stance.      



David Ono, film producer, news anchor with Los Angeles ABC-7 Eyewitness News
Secretary Norman Y. Mineta (Ret.), former Department of Transportation secretary
Shirley Higuchi, chairperson of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation
Alice Takemoto, Nisei imprisoned in Jerome War Authority Center in Arkansas
Paul Takemoto, journalist, author of Nisei Memories: My Parents Talk about the War Years
Dr. Franklin Odo (moderator), University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor

G. Yamazawa, in a spoken-word performance by the 2014 National Poetry Slam champion


Lead Sponsor: 

National Japanese American Memorial Foundation


Additional Support: 

Japanese American Citizens League
Japanese American Veterans Association
Patti Hirahara and Terry K. Takeda
Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation


Related Online exhibit: A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution

Press Release


This event is free and open to the public. The closest Metro station is Federal Triangle.
Location: Warner Bros. Theater, First Floor
National Museum of American History
(use the Constitution Avenue entrance)

For more information:


News Coverage:

News coverage from NHK World News


News coverage from KDOC Los Angeles


News coverage from KABC Los Angeles