Salt Lake City Public Library is one of only 20 libraries across the country selected to host a national traveling exhibition that focuses on issues surrounding the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
"A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the United States Constitution" opens Thursday, April 30, and runs through Thursday, June 11, on the second floor of the Main Library, 209 E. 500 South.The exhibit, which incorporates photographs, documents and an interactive video unit containing oral histories of life in the internment camps, will be complemented with a variety of free programs through-out the city library system.
The programs begin with the showing of an award-winning documentary, "Topaz," produced by KUED-TV senior producer Ken Verdoia. It will be shown at 7 p.m. April 30 in the library lecture hall. Verdoia will discuss the making of the film.
A reception for the exhibition is scheduled at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 2, in the Main Library, where Jane Beckwith, who has expertise on Topaz, an internment camp near Delta, Millard County, will be the keynote speaker.
Also featured will be the Ogden Buddhist Taiko Drummers, Koto music by Kimi Osterloh and Hatsumi Bryant and a special presentation of "Breaking the Silence." The latter is an oral history play created by Nisei writer Nikki Nojima Louis.
At 2 p.m. the same day, the play will be presented in the University of Utah's Orson Spencer Hall auditorium.
Topaz housed some 8,000 people during World War II. Beckwith, a teacher in Delta, is a member of the Topaz Museum Board of Trustees.
A number of local programs will be presented during the 43 days of the library exhibition, including Japanese kite-making, traditional kimono dressing, sumi painting and a martial arts demonstration. Special exhibits, which highlight Japanese photos and objects, will be displayed in city libraries.
Brenda Wong Aoki, a nationally recognized solo theater artist, storyteller, singer and actress, will perform "Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend" at the Main Library at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30. This original production is a story based on real-life experiences of Aoki's uncle around the turn of the century.
"A More Perfect Union" is a project of the American Library Association and the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution. It is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and based on an exhibit of the same name on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
"Through these exhibitions many U.S. communities are able to benefit from the rich collections and unparalleled scholarship available at major research institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of American History," said Colleen McLaughlin of the Salt Lake Library staff.
Library officials thanked the local Japanese-American Citizens League for its support of the project.
Terrell Nagata, president of the Salt Lake chapter of the league, said the exhibit will provide an "excellent opportunity for the people of Utah to learn more about what happened to Japanese-American citizens and immigrants during World War II."
> Additional Information
Films, workshops, discussions offered
Here's a list of programs to be presented in connection with "A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the United States Constitution."
All the programs are free to the public.
Film series: Thursday, April 30, 7 p.m., "Topaz," Main Library lecture hall.
Tuesday, May 5, 7 p.m. - Day-Riverside Library, 1575 W. 1000 North, "Unfinished Business," a documentary about three Japanese-American men who refused to go into internment camps.
Tuesday, May 12, 7 p.m., Day-Riverside Library - "Days of Waiting," documentary about a Caucasian artist in-terned at Heart Mountain. Also, "Redress, the JACL (Japanese-American Civic League) Campaign for Justice," a documentary of league's 20-year effort to obtain justice and a presidential apology for the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Tuesday, May 19, 7 p.m., Day-Riverside Library - "Honor Bound," story of a soldier's march through war and racial turmoil.
Panel discussions - Thursday, May 21, 7 p.m., Anderson-Foothill Branch Library, 1135 S. 2100 East, "Discrimination and the Immigrant Experience," Ken Verdoia, facilitator; panelists, Robert Archuleta, Sandra Taylor, Raymond Uno, Yas Tokita, Carol Gnade.
Tuesday, May 26, 7 p.m. Main Library story room - "Missing Stories: The Japanese-American Experience in Utah," Jane Beckwith, facilitator; panelists, Ted Nagata, Rick Okabe, Haruko Moriyasu, Grace Oshita, Alice Kasai, George Nakamura.
Kite workshop - Saturday, May 2, Main Library, 209 E. 500 South, lecture and workshops with Scott Skinner, president of the Drachen Foundation, and Alison Fujino Sutton. Kite-making lecture, 10 a.m., Lecture Hall; kite-making workshop, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., second floor; repeated, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., second floor.
Registration is required for the workshops. Call the Main Library's children's department, 524-8200.
Japanese culture - Saturday, April 25, all city library locations, 2 p.m., origami, the art of Japanese paper folding.
Saturday, May 9, 2 p.m., Sprague Branch Library, 2131 S. 1100 East, sumi painting demonstration, Mary Lou Romney.
Saturday, May 16, 2 p.m., Sweet Branch Library,, 455 F St., Japanese doll-making, Toshiko Jeanne Marse.
Saturday, May 30, 2 p.m., Chapman Branch Library, 577 S. 900 West, martial arts demonstration by John Link-letter and students.
Saturday, June 6, 2 p.m., Anderson-Foothill Branch Library, bonsai demonstration (the art of dwarfing and shaping trees), Bonsai Club of Utah.
Storytelling - Saturday, May 30, 7 p.m., Main Library Lecture Hall, nationally acclaimed storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki performs "Uncle Gunjiro's Girl-friend."
Exhibits and Displays - April 30-July 11, Main Library Atrium Gallery, exhibit, Japanese prints from Library's permanent collection and Japanese objects from private collections.
Chapman Branch, "Remembering Topaz," photographs by George G. Murakami.
Children's/Young Adult Department, Main Library, Japanese objects from private collections.
Fiction Department, Main Library, Japanese antiques from Lotus Gallery, Provo.
Foothill Branch, watercolors by Lily Yuriko Havey.
Sprague & Day-Riverside Branches, black and white photos provided by the Japanese American Citizens League. Display cases will be donated by Toshika's at Crossroads Mall.