Asian immigration to the United States has, until recently, been limited. The New World was settled primarily by Europeans and the majority wished to keep it that way. That is why the Chinese, after they helped build the Central Pacific Railroad, were excluded from immigrating to the United States by an 1882 act of Congress. Similarly, by the notorious "Gentlemen's Agreement" of 1907, the government of Japan agreed to limit the emigration of its people to this country. Californians, who resented the phenomenal success of Japanese farmers, were thus mollified.

When World War II broke out, anti-Japanese feeling in California, which had always been high, exploded. Rather than take the lead in cooling passions, the federal government gave in to nativist demands to intern an entire ethnic group. Not since American Indians had been rounded up and forced onto reservations had the United States government committed such an injustice.

The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies presents this exhibit on "The Japanese American Experience" with a mixture of pride and shame. Shame at what our government did to Japanese Americans during World War II. Pride at how these people, in spite of all the injustices inflicted upon them, overcame their difficulties and eventually became one of America's most successful ethnic groups. Japanese Americans, as our exhibits demonstrate, stand as a model of perseverance in the face of adversity. These are qualities that we can all emulate.

M. Mark Stolarik


The Balch Institute is grateful to the authors of this catalogue- Sumiko Kobayashi, Hiroshi Uyehara, Dr. Mary I. Watanabe and Ellen Nakamura-for providing an informative and insightful introduction to the history of Japanese Americans, particularly to those in the Philadelphia area and in Seabrook, New Jersey. The narrative was based on the experiences of the authors as well as on the published histories cited in the bibliography. Except where otherwise noted, the narrative contributions were made by Sumiko Kobayashi and Hiroshi Uyehara. Elizabeth Haller and M. Mark Stolarik contributed to the process of compilation and editing.

Co-sponsorship of "The Japanese American Experience" with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has proved to be an immensely valuable collaborative effort for the Institute. It was at the suggestion of Reiko Gaspar (then President of the Philadelphia Chapter of JACL) that the project was initiated. The JACL Planning Committee made an extraordinary effort to locate and identify appropriate material for inclusion in the exhibition. The rich variety of art works, artifacts, photographs and documentary materials from over 40 sources, many of which have since been donated to the Institute's permanent Museum and Library collections, attests to the success of their efforts. I am very grateful to Sumiko Kobayashi (chairperson) and the other committee members: Reiko Gaspar, Elizabeth Haller, Norman Ikeda, Chiyo Koiwai, Teresa Maebori, Louise Maehara, Nobu Miyoshi, Ellen Nakamura, George Oye, Jack Ozawa, Utsumi Sepich, Grayce and Hiroshi Uyehara, Dr. Mary I. Watanabe and Akira Yoshida.

We are also grateful to the lenders and donors to the exhibition: Anthony Bley, Betty Endo, Russell Susumu Endo, Sim Endo, Friends of the Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park, June and Tsuneo Fujita, Reiko Gaspar, Teru Graves, Sumi Hamasaki, Hatsumi Harada, George Higuchi, Edith Honda, Dr. Herbert and Miiko Horikawa, Al Ikeda, Norman Ikeda, Dr. William Inouye, Ben Kamihira, Gladys S. Kamihira, Eleanor Kaneshiki, Fusa Kazaoka, Allen Satoshi Kitajima, Key Kobayashi, Noboru Kobayashi, Sumiko Kobayashi, Andrew Kuroda, Louise Maehara, Judge William Marutani, Nobu Miyoshi, Tadafumi Mikuriya, Yuriko and Takashi Moriuchi, Mary and Dr. Tomomi Murakami, Mrs. Ichyo Nakai, Ellen Nakamura, Mine Okubo, Allen Okamoto, George Oye, Marion C. Potts, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sakamoto, Utsumi Sepich, Henry Sugimoto, Roger Shimomura, Naomi Tanaka, Ann Togasaki, Mrs. Mitsuye Endo Tsutsume, Grayce and Hiroshi Uyehara, Dr. Mary Watanabe, Mas Yametani, Minoru Yasui and Akura Yoshida.

The exhibition was developed with major funding from Subaru of America Foundation and additional support from FMC Corporation and Bell of Pennsylvania.

The opportunity to present two other traveling exhibitions concurrently with "The Japanese American Experience" allowed us to provide additional depth in two important thematic areas. "Born Free and Equal," an exhibition of 52 photographs by Ansel Adams, is being circulated by the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art, History and Science under the sponsorship of Echolight Corporation and the Polaroid Foundation. The photographs are from the collections of the Library of Congress and Dr. and Mrs. Michael Adams. Emily Medvec, the show's organizer (and one of Ansel Adams' pupils) was instrumental in making the Balch showing possible.

"Go for Broke," the other traveling exhibition, consists of sixty photographs which illustrate the heroism of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a Japanese American U.S. Army unit which won more medals than any other World War II team. Produced by Go For Broke, Inc., the National Nisei Veterans Organization (San Francisco), the exhibition is being circulated by the National Japanese American Historical Society. The show's organizers, Tom Kawaguchi and Chester Tanaka of "Go For Broke, Inc." and Eric Saul of the Presidio Army Museum, have been extremely helpful, as has Key Kobayashi, the exhibition's Washington, D.C. representative.

The Institute's Education Department has organized several workshops and programs around the exhibition. The Bourse has kindly agreed to assist the Institute in publicizing these programs. We appreciate the assistance of all of those who have participated in this effort.

Lanny Bergner of the Balch staff designed and installed the exhibition with exceptional sensitivity and attention to detail. Joan Guerin served as designer for the catalogue. Catharine Swan served as Curatorial Assistant and Registrar, with the able help of Wendy Kuhn and Andrew Chalfen. Finally I would also like to thank Shawn Aubitz, Fritz Dietel, jean Drumm, Tomomi Murakami, Sumio Okabayashi, Gregory Zeitlin and the Balch Library staff, as well as Garrison Printing, for their assistance.

Gail F. Stern
Museum Director and Curator

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