News Release

National Park Service awards more than $3.4 million in grants to preserve and interpret World War II Japanese American confinement sites

Two women and a young child behind a chain link fence.
The Puyallup Valley Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League will install an exhibit to shed light on the history of the Puyallup “assembly center”, which was used to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II.

Frank Abe, Densho

News Release Date: May 31, 2023


WASHINGTON – The National Park Service today announced $3,408,083 in Japanese American Confinement Sites grants. These funds will support 14 preservation, restoration, and education projects that help tell the story of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, incarcerated by the U.S. government following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.  

“The National Park Service is committed to telling a more complete story of the impacts and injustices of the Japanese American experience during World War II,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “The Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program helps tell these stories with accuracy and authenticity, so that we can better understand the difficult truths of our shared history and make a better future for ourselves and generations to come.”   

Japanese American Confinement Sites grants may be awarded to projects associated with the 10 War Relocation Authority centers established in 1942 and more than 40 additional confinement sites. The program’s mission is to teach future generations about the injustices of the World War II confinement of Japanese Americans, preserve sites and stories associated with this history, and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law. Award recipients must match the grant with $1 in non-federal funds or "in-kind" contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.  

Examples of projects funded this year include:  

  • Visitor Center: The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial Association will construct a visitor center to honor and share the histories of Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from Bainbridge Island, Washington and later imprisoned in one of ten incarceration sites established by the U.S. government during World War II. This project is the third phase of a larger project, which included the completion of a memorial wall and departure deck, both connected to telling the experiences of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island and the impacts on this community during World War II.  

  • Narrative Film: Los Angeles-based Visual Communications will partner with filmmakers Cory Shiozaki and Richard Imamura to produce a short, 30-minute film called “The Camera” set at the Manzanar incarceration site. The narrative film will explore impacts of intergenerational trauma stemming from Japanese American incarceration and the need for ongoing vigilance to prevent unjust acts against all people. 

  • Educational Exhibition: The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, based in Wyoming, will develop an exhibition highlighting the unique friendship between the late Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Senator Alan K. Simpson. In 1943, Mineta and Simpson met at the Heart Mountain incarceration site in their youth as part of two Boys Scout troops, one coming from nearby Cody and the other located behind barbed wire. The exhibit will highlight the lives and careers of Mineta and Simpson, whose lifelong friendship was key in preserving the former Heart Mountain incarceration site in Wyoming.   

Below is a full list of the 14 projects selected to receive funds in 2023. For more details about these projects, visit the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program site.  

Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Recipients  

Grantee   Project Title   Project Site   Amount  
American Baptist Historical Society     Sharing Stories: Increasing Access to Records Documenting Japanese American Confinement and Northern Baptists Response   Multiple Sites   $119,153  
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial    Bainbridge Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Visitor Center   Bainbridge Island/Eagledale Ferry Dock, Kitsap County, WA  $613,150 
Colorado Preservation, Inc.   Amache Recreation Hall - Implementation of Interior Interpretation   Amache Incarceration Site, Prowers County, CO  $76,350 
Community Partners   Vigilant Love's Solidarity Arts Fellowship  Manzanar Incarceration Site, Inyo County, CA; Tuna Canyon Detention Station, Los Angeles County, CA   $192,893 
Densho  Densho Encyclopedia: Bringing a Critical Resource into the Next Decade  Multiple Sites  $316,905 
Densho  Resettlement and Return: Effects of the Incarceration   Multiple Sites   $291,468 
Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation    Across Barbed Wire & Across the Aisle: The Unlikely Friendship of Normal Y. Mineta and Alan K. Simpson   Heart Mountain Incarceration Site, Park County, WY  $149,696 
Japanese American National Museum    Nobuko Miyamoto: 120,000 Stories  Santa Anita Assembly Center, Los Angeles County, CA    $150,174  
Japanese American National Museum  WRA Heart Mountain Barracks - Conserved, Reinstalled, Reimagined, and Protected   Heart Mountain Incarceration Site, Park County, WY, and other sites    $414,663 
National Japanese American Historical Society, Inc.  Detour to Crystal City - A Memoir by Libia Yamamoto   Crystal City Internment Camp (DOJ) Zavala County, TX  $59,480 
National Japanese American Historical Society, Inc.  Leaving Traces: Camp Life Digital Archives Project  Multiple Sites   $75,284 
Puyallup Valley Chapter Japanese American Citizens League   "Puyallup Assembly Center" Remembrance Gallery   Puyallup Assembly Center, Pierce County, WA  $400,000 
Tides Center, National Veterans Network    Nisei Soldier Experience: Two Front War  Multiple Sites   $348,867 
Visual Communications    "The Camera" narrative fiction short film   Manzanar Incarceration Site, Inyo County, CA  $200,000 
Total          $3,408,083  

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Last updated: May 31, 2023