Historical News and Comment

California Subsidizes Japanese-American Museum

In a 180-degree turnaround, Gov. George Deukmejian has signed a bill authorizing a $750,000 grant for a Japanese-American history museum planned for an historic Buddhist temple in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles. Only a few months ago, Deukmejian had cut the $750,000 grant from the state budget.

The bill, authored by State Senator Art Torres (D-South Pasadena), will give the money to Los Angeles if the City raises at least $1 million in matching funds. The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency is expected to provide the necessary $1 million in "redevelopment funds."

"There needs to be a constant reminder of the sometimes illogical actions of government," said Torres, alluding to the "internment" of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

According to Bruce Kaji, president of the Japanese-American National Museum Foundation, the museum will show "the experiences of a minority group that has gone through normal immigration and adjustments ... but also suffered civil injustices during World War II." Kaji has said, "It will also serve as a conscience of America, so such things do not happen again."

The museum will include exhibits of Japanese-American contributions to agriculture, horticulture, fishing, mining and railroad construction, according to Kaji.

-- L. A. Rollins

From The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1985-86 (Vol. 6, No. 1), pages 507-508.