The National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II stands on a small triangle of land just north of the Capitol between D St NW, New Jersey Ave and Louisiana Ave. The beautiful bronze crane in barbed wire rises above the low cement landscape, a 14-foot statue designed by Nina Akamu, in demonstration of the Japanese-American’s plight during the second world war. While you might be more familiar with the larger World War II Memorial on the Mall, this monument stands in admittance of the difficult situation that Japanese Americans were placed at the start of hostilities against the Empire of Japan in 1941.
By 1942, many Japanese Americans were placed in Internment camps throughout the Western United States, often in the midst of deserts and other wastelands. Their names, like Manzanar, Topaz and Jerome, are inscribed into the western retaining wall, along with the number of American citizens contained therein. Over 110,000 people, three quarters American citizens, were detained by the United States Government during World War II in these camps. The blanket actions were meant to discourage espionage by those who could be loyal to the Japanese Empire inside the United States. In 1988, President Reagan signed into law an apology on the behalf of the American Government to those who were interned in those camps, and paid out a $1.6B reparation to the families and survivors. Continue reading