Tacoma's Vibrant Pre-War Japan Town

Tacoma’s Vibrant Pre-War Japan Town

Scholarly Selections with UWT
  • Dates:
    Feb 17, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Ages:
    All ages
  • Where:
    Livestreamed on FacebookLive @HistoryMuseum
  • Tickets:


  • Accessibility:

    Accessible online

Scholarly Selections
Structural Erasure: Remembering Japanese Americans in Prewar Tacoma
ONLINEFebruary 17, 2022, 6:00-7:00 PM
Our community has a fascinating past!

Tacoma’s Nihonmachi (Japan Town) was a vibrant and close-knit community of first-generation Japanese immigrants and their second-generation American children with businesses, homes, hotels, churches, and the Tacoma Japanese Language School, centered in Tacoma’s current downtown core. Influenced both by the transnational connections to Japan and by the spatial components of the city itself, the world they built was destroyed by incarceration and erased in the years that followed.

University of Washington Tacoma’s Lisa Hoffman and Mary Hanneman present the highlights of their recently published book, Becoming Nisei: Japanese American Urban Lives in Prewar Tacoma, with a focus on what made Tacoma’s Japanese community unique. The book is based on interviews with 42 Nisei who grew up in Tacoma as well as archival work in the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

You do not need a Facebook profile to watch the program. Find detailed instructions for how to access WSHS virtual public programs on Facebook here.
ThIs program and our 7:00 PM screening of Fujitaro Kubota and His Garden (also on Facebook Live @HistoryMuseum) honor the National Day of Remembrance (observed annually on Feb. 19). Held annually, the Day of Remembrance recognizes President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 and the subsequent incarceration of nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent living mostly in Washington, Oregon, and California.

You can also celebrate National Day of Remembrance by visiting the REMEMBRANCE gallery during regular museum hours or see the virtual REMEMBRANCE exhibition.

Image: Yamane Grocery Store interior, circa1934. Located at 1513 South Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, Washington. Pictured from left to right are Moriichi Yamane, son Kazuo Yamane, and wife Yoshi Yamane. Among the grocery items displayed are fresh fruit and potatoes, loaves of Wonder Bread, and packaged and canned goods. Washington State Historical Society, Yamane Family Collection, catalog ID 2009.20.35.