Spring marks the beginning of the 2019 WWII camp pilgrimages, and in April, I’m honored to be speaking at the Rohwer/Jerome Pilgrimage in Arkansas and at the Manzanar Visitor Center on the morning after the Manzanar Pilgrimage.

Organized visits to the former World War II incarceration sites largely began in the late 1960s, sparked by the civil rights movement and a growing interest in the wartime experiences of the Issei and Nisei, or first and second generation Japanese Americans. While every pilgrim has a different reason for visiting the former incarceration sites, the ritual of journeying to the various camps has allowed former inmates to share long-repressed memories, which in turn has opened the way for younger Japanese Americans to reclaim a part of their history.

First, on April 11, I’ll be giving a presentation at the opening dinner of the Rohwer/Jerome Pilgrimage in Little Rock, Arkansas. Not every one of the ten former War Relocation Authority camps hold pilgrimages, but this year, Manzanar marks its 50th annual gathering with the theme, “50th Manzanar Pilgrimage: An Enduring Legacy For Civil Rights” on April 27, 2019.

Finally, I’ll end this newsletter with a word about the celebration of Hanamatsuri, which literally translates to “Flower Festival.” Hanamatsuri is typically observed in April in Japan and celebrates the birth of Buddha. While doing research for American Sutra, I came upon this historic photo of the father of my mentor, Reverend Shinjo Nagatomi delivering a sermon at Manzanar, thereby helping light my path in writing this book.

If you have any questions or comments regarding American Sutra or this newsletter, please email me.

Kindest regards,

manzanar hanamatsuri.png

Hanamatsuri (Flower Festival) with Reverend Shinjo Nagatomi in front of the Hanamido shrine with the baby Buddha to celebrate the birth of the Buddha and Buddhism at Manzanar Relocation Center. Circa 1943.


Upcoming Events

Presbyterian Historical Society
Monday, April 8, 2019|5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

University of Pennsylvania
Tuesday, April 9, 2019|4:30 PM - 6:00 PM