The Remembrance Shrine exhibited at the JFKU alumni exhibition

The Remembrance Shrine, February 2007 – Found objects, writings, rice paper

This piece will be on display in the Alumni Show at the John F Kennedy Arts and Consciousness Gallery, Berkeley, California, May 15-June 17, 2007.

I created this piece to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the internment of Japanese-Americans that occurred in the U.S. during World War II. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized the forcible internment of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. Over two-thirds of those imprisoned were U.S. citizens, none of whom had shown any disloyalty.

The shrine is on display for viewers to read, participate with their own writings, and remember those who were imprisoned in America because of their race. The piece is created from a bird cage wrapped in rice paper and is reminiscent of an Obutsudan, a small Buddhist home shrine. Many of them were destroyed in America during W.W.II. The shrine glows like a Japanese paper lantern. The light from this shrine signifies the dignity and resilience of those who were imprisoned. ben-kawahata.jpgThe memories of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in the internment camps from 1942-46 are hidden behind shutters on the walls of the shrine. The viewer may interact with the shrine to reveal thoughts and memories from this challenging time. Many of these internees spent a substantial part of their childhood behind barbed wire in America.

Writings from parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were gathered from the families of Reiko Fujii, Mallory Nomura-Saul, and my own. Additional memories and thoughts were received through my alma mater, JFKU, and from responses to a posting on I am honored to have been entrusted to share these memories and I respect the spirit, grace, and dignity expressed in them.

More of my art can be viewed at


6 thoughts on “The Remembrance Shrine exhibited at the JFKU alumni exhibition

  1. thank you very much for reading this post about my remembrance shrine. I really wanted to do something about this historical event that so touched my family. I will put up some of the writing that was included with the piece.

  2. judy, we are having another gathering june 30th. i know you are a ways away, but your are more than welcome. we just got back from St. Paul, MN and an art gathering. it was awesome! it was about the value of the work of our hands. it’s goal was to call out that which is already inside of us. wow, it was awesome. darin & shannon

  3. Hi Darin and Shannon –
    thanks so much for the invitation. Where exactly are you guys? I am in California near SF. I would love to come where ever you are but i am hanging a show called “what was she thinking?” right around then in Half Moon Bay.

    I really lke what you have been doing. I am very much into artist interactions, support, collaboration. Maybe we should think of a way to do it in a blog for people where ever they live?

    I meant to also tell you that I used to work on Point of Purchase and store design in my other life. i worked for Intel in their retail merchandising group. I used to often come out to the midwest for printing and ssembly of displays and some store witin a store creations for Compusa, Circuit City, Sears, Office Depot. It was fun. I think this is along the lines of what you do right? Store design?

    Do you come out this way?

  4. We are in Lawrence, KS (a bedroom community of Kansas City). I get to SF every once in a while because I have relatives in Blackhawk and also down in San Deigo.

    We are trying to use the balm blog to help support artists wherever they are. We are still in the beginning phase of this, as it is hard to keep updated. We also are associated with another group that has similar ideas about supporting the artist, but in different ways.

    That is wild that you worked in POP and store design! We do both instore marketing as well as store design and contracting of entire store interiors from displays, fixtures, lighting, furniture, visual merchandising, thematic enviroments and artwork. Our site (which is old and the new version will be launched very soon) is . We work with around 3,000 clients including many mom and pop shops, fortune 500 companies like Guess, BCBG MaxAzria, ESPN, Texas Instruments, Dillards, Nat Nast, Brighton, Colleges like UCLA and UC Berk., government agencies and many jewelry manufacturers.

    Wild how things work. Speaking of interesting. I have a couple of friends from Half Moon Bay. I have heard it is beautiful.

    Talk to you later!
    Darin (& Shannon)

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