A new museum is luring many Japanese Americans imprisoned in Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II to return to the area, reports the Springfield News-Leader.
8,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to Rohwer.
The daughter of one of those inmates has created a new art exhibition, Life Interrupted, at the World War II Japanese American Internment Museum in McGehee, Arkansas. The small museum is just more than a year old and has attracted visitors from five countries and 45 states.
“Where they were in Arkansas was just swampland, muddy, wet, flooded, mosquitoes,” said Nancy Chikaraishi, Ben Chikaraishi daughter. “It was tough. There was no due process of law. Everyone had to wear a tag to identify themselves. These were Americans. … I’ve always wanted to do something related to this.”
Her mom couldn’t be prouder.
“We were just so confused,” said Nancy’s mom, Kiyo Chino. “We didn’t know where we were going. We were told we could take whatever we could carry. We didn’t know what to do, so we dug a big hole in our backyard and buried items there. You heard so many rumors and you didn’t know what was true or not. Like we were going to be shipped back to Japan. We didn’t have any affiliation with Japan. We were second generation. I was in high school. It was a tough situation.”
You can learn a lot more about the museum and the exhibition in the Springfield News-Leader.