Los Angeles, United States – For Japanese and Muslim Americans embracing a growing relationship in the movement to resist what many consider to be President Donald Trump’s discriminatory policymaking, history isn’t going to repeat itself; it’s going to help inform the present.
The Japanese American community is commemorating a series of anniversaries this year: January 14 was the day, 75 years ago, when then President Franklin D Roosevelt, for whom Trump has reportedly expressed his admiration, issued a proclamation forcing Japanese – as well as Germans and Italians – to register with the Department of Justice. February 19 marks the 75th anniversary of the US’s detention of its Japanese community during the Second World War.
The history behind these dates is preserved with scientific precision in Little Tokyo. At the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, there is a barracks from the Heart Mountain camp in the western state of Wyoming, where many of the 120,000 people of Japanese origin interned during the war were resettled. Unvarnished wood thrown together to form a shack seems to have offered little shelter from the elements.
It was disassembled and moved across two states and 1,751 kilometres, so that people might remember what happened.