The Power of Irei

A series of articles related to the Irei: The National Monument for the World War II Japanese American Incarceration, a three-part installation listing the names of more than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry imprisoned in 75 U.S. detention camps. This series will honor those individuals that are listed by interviewing people personally connected to the incarceration and offer insights into the impact this project has made on their lives.

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Remembering Them—Tsuchiya Family Honors Elders Through Ireichō

For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as

We remember them.

—Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

These words of two Jewish rabbis were recalled by two Japanese American brothers who decided to fly all the way from Minneapolis to Los Angeles for the sole purpose of marking their ancestors’ names in Ireichō, the sacred book that lists all those held in detention during WWII. The experience stirred up an avalanche of memories for their entire extended family as they embarked on an emotional family journey of remembrance and …

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Digging up Ways to Honor Her Ancestors—Kyoko Oda and Ireichō

Sometimes it takes a soft-spoken woman like Kyoko Oda to use her charm to make sure the lives of 125,284 incarcerated Japanese American are not forgotten. Someone gentle on the outside but no less mighty on the inside as she works in multiple capacities calling attention to the lives forever changed by the mass detention. It can be seen in her work publishing her father’s Tule Lake Stockade Diary; working tirelessly on behalf of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition or the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center; supporting ongoing projects like the World War II Camp Wall; or …

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Ireichō, Kintsugi, and the Transformation of Karma: A Conversation with Project Founder Duncan Ryuken Williams

To craft into a sacred book listing the names of 125,284 people of Japanese ancestry incarcerated at 75 World War II detention sites, it took inspired thought and meticulous research from its brilliant creative team. Led by Buddhist priest Duncan Ryuken Williams of the University of Southern California Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, and book publisher Sunyoung Lee of Kaya Press, it was a book meant to be a living monument with Japanese spiritual elements among its essential building blocks.

In his seminal book on Buddhism in the camps, American Sutra author Williams tells the story …

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California camps concentration camps Duncan Ryuken Williams Griffith Park Detention Camp Hawaii incarceration Irei project Ireichō JANM Japanese American National Museum Kilauea Military Center Kyoko Oda monument religion Tuna Canyon Detention Station World War II