Chicago’s Japanese community grew from just under 400 before World War II to more than 20,000 by the mid-1940s. The unlikely cause? Resettlement of Japanese, sent to internment camps by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The order led to the incarceration of approximately 120,000 people with Japanese heritage around the United States and the Americas. “For the overall Japanese-American community, the wartime experience is like a knife that cuts the community in the middle,” says Ryan Yokota, legacy center manager of the Japanese American Service Committee. “We lost so many things in the war, many people ended up shunning their heritage, their language…” Alphawood Gallery highlights this moment in American history with an original exhibition, “Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties.” Yokota and director of exhibitions at Alphawood Foundation, Tony Hirschel, join global citizen, Nari Safavi, to tell us more.
Safavi will also share more global picks you don’t want to miss this weekend.