Image - person holding camera, photo of speaker
Image - person holding camera, photo of speaker

Seen and Unseen: The Stories Behind the Pictures of Japanese American Incarceration

A Special Program for Families

“This is what we did. How did it happen? How could we?” – Dorothea Lange

Fueled by racist fears and wartime hysteria, the U.S. government incarcerated more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1945, many of them families with children. Allowed to bring only what they could carry, the internees were removed from their homes and forced to live under armed guard in makeshift camps, treated with suspicion and hostility; imprisoned without evidence of any crime. Inflated claims of national security risks justified these actions and carefully curated images hid the truth; even today, the story is not well known. 

In her new book for young readers, Elizabeth Partridge examines the reality of life in Manzanar, a camp in the California desert. Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration offers three photographers’ perspectives on the incarceration and illuminates the stories behind their pictures. And it invites us to consider: How could such a gross violation of civil liberties happen in a nation founded on principles of equality and justice for all? Could it happen again?
若い読者向けの新作、エリザベス・パーテリッジはカリフォルニア砂漠のマンザナー収容所での生活の現実を調査しています。『Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams's Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration』は、この収容とその写真の裏にある真実の話を明らかにし、3人の写真家の視点を提供します。そして、私たちに問いかけます:平等と正義の原則に基づく国で、なぜこんなひどい市民権の侵害が起こったのか?それは再び起こる可能性があるのでしょうか?

Bring your family for a conversation with Elizabeth Partridge, who will share how she created her book and why it is so important for all of us to talk about this bitter chapter in American history when the country did not live up to its democratic ideals. Tickets include admission to the Japanese American Museum of San José, which provides a historical forum that stimulates present-day discussions on civil liberties, race relations, discrimination, and American identity.
あなたの家族も一緒に、エリザベス・パーテリッジとの対話の場にご参加ください。彼女は自分の本をどのように創り上げたか、そしてなぜこの苦々しいアメリカの歴史の章について話すことが非常に重要であるかを語ります。 チケットにはサンノゼ日系アメリカ博物館への入場料が含まれています。この博物館は市民権、人種関係、差別、アメリカのアイデンティティに関する現代の議論を刺激する歴史的な施設になります。

This program is part of The Commonwealth Club’s civics education initiative, Creating Citizens.

Image - Elizabeth Partridge

Elizabeth Partridge

Author; Instagram @elizabethpartridge

Image - Yuki Nishimura

Yuki Nishimura

Board Member, Japanese American Museum of San Jose; Manager, Human Rights Watch—Moderator