• The Guardian

Los Angeles Museum Displays Book with Names of Incarcerated Japanese Americans During WWII

October 11, 2022

[Image Source: Bettmann/Getty Images]

Cited article by Taylor Weik, The Guardian


HRRC commends the Japanese American National Museum and the work led by Duncan Ryuken Williams. The Ireichō book documents the individual names of those who were incarcerated by the United States out of fear following the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. This book is a valuable historical record of those who were affected by the internment camps and provides families with recognition of the persecution their loved ones experienced.


Article Summary


The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles has opened a new exhibit dedicated to Japanese Americans who faced discrimination during WWII. A primary focus of the exhibit is a sacred book of names called the Ireichō, which details 125,284 individuals of Japanese descent who were imprisoned in the U.S. during WWII. This is, to date, the most detailed account of those imprisoned, the majority of which were American citizens.


The Ireichō book was created via the Ireichō Project which was led by Duncan Ryuken Williams, the director of the University of Southern California’s Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, and creative director Sunyoung Lee. The project took three years, and Williams worked with teams of volunteers to research, transcribe, and verify the names from the records and documentation from the 75 incarceration sites across the U.S. that were opened in 1942. This provides evidence for historical record, and allows those who were incarcerated and their families acknowledgment of their past and ill-treatment by their own country.