Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit Opens in Japan

Ryoji Koike explains the exhibit to the visitors

June 24, 2017, Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, Yokohama, Japan

Many Japanese visitors attended the opening of the Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit in Yokohama.

Over two years in the making, the Nisei Veterans Legacy has created a photographic exhibit which chronicles the history of the Japanese in Hawaii. At the center of the story are the Nisei soldiers of World War II. However, the story begins with the Issei (first generation) immigrants and life on the plantations. It continues to present day Hawaii, featuring the accomplishments of many Japanese Americans have roots in the Japanese prefectures of Hiroshima, Fukushima, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Yamaguchi, Niigata and Okinawa…The purpose of the exhibit is to promote goodwill between Japan and Hawaii and to educate the Japanese people on the story of Hawaii’s Nikkei.

NVL Director George Arine attended the ceremony and offered these remarks:

We are very excited to bring this exhibit, the Hawaii Nikkei Legacy (or Hawaii Nikkeijin no Ayumi) to the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum today. We are co-sponsors with the Japan America Society of Hawaii and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, both of which are also represented here today. This project was developed completely by volunteers, most of whom are descendants of Nisei soldiers.  None of them are professional historians. The intent of the exhibit is to help to educate the Japanese public about the history of the Hawaii Nikkei:the initial immigration of Japanese to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations,

  • what life was like in Hawaii during World War II for the Japanese Americans,
  • the military service of the Nisei soldiers,
  • their post-war contributions to the State of Hawaii and lastly,
  • how the Hawaii Nikkei maintain Japanese cultural values and practices in modern Hawaii. 

We hope that this exhibit will help to improve the already strong friendship between the Japanese and the people of Hawaii.  We hope to take it to those prefectures in Japan that the initial Japanese immigrants came from.

I addition to Yokohama, the exhibit is also scheduled to be shown this year in Tokyo (Shibuya), Fukushima and Hiroshima.

Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, Special Exhibit’s Room (Photos by Philbert Ono)
Opening Ceremony (Left to Right): George Arine, Yumiko Asakuma, Byrnes Yamashita
Opening day crowd
Hawaiian music and dance performances by Kuulei Mamo Park’s group
Exhibit organizers, participants and dignitaries

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