Past Events

Past Events:

July 16, 2016 • 5:30 PM TO 8:30 PM
Pioneer Ocean View Church  2550 Fairfield Street, San Diego

Come join us for a Hawaiian luau to celebrate our Hawaiian heritage within the Japanese American community in San Diego. The event, presented by the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, will feature: Delicious “Hawaiian” food • Fun entertainment • Kids activities Taiko, hula & ukulele performances • Silent auction with fabulous prizes.

Heritage: Artwork by San Diego’s Japanese American Community

The Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego just opened (Oct 29) a new art exhibition titled:  Heritage:  Artwork by San Diego’s Japanese American Community.  It contains objects as contemporary as sculpture by Allied Artists members Wendy Maruyama and Dot Kimura, to pieces nearing 100 years old.  The exhibition illustrates how art created by Japanese Americans has changed over the years.  Some pieces incorporate ancient Japanese themes, and others reflect that some early community members studied with well-known San Diego artists like Alfred Mitchell and Charles Reiffel.  The exhibition will be open through March 31, 2016. 

Garden Of UnityBalboa Park’s Japanese Legacy
January 9, 2015 – December 31, 2015

A joint project of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego (JFG) and the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego (JAHSSD).

The second screening of the exhibition documentary will be held on Wednesday, August 19th at 6pm in the Inamori Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Please RSVP here to reserve your seat:–Volunteer-Garden-of-Unity-Screening

For more information about Garden of Unity, the documentary or the exhibition, please visit

JAHSSD_savethedate-02Annual Meeting: Celebrating Community Connections
Saturday, October 11th at 11:00am
Presentation of 2014 Kansha Award · Historical exhibit · Bento lunch
Featuring keynote speaker Tom Hom, author of Rabbit on a Bumpy Road, his memoir of growing up in San Diego.

Tour of Japanese American Gallery at Pioneers Museum – Imperial Valley
Saturday, November 8th
For more information about the Pioneers Museum please visit

Visit the JAHSSD at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park, and learn about three families who worked and lived in the San Diego Stingaree at the turn of the 20th Century. Images and diagrams, plus a model of the Sun Cafe, show what life was like for the Himaka, Kawasaki, and Obayashi families before World War II.

This exhibit was created by Tanner Taguchi, a student at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, as part of his senior internship. Tanner’s work with the JAHSSD was voted the most meaningful internship out of those completed by 50 other students at his school.

Spring Swing Dinner Thing
Sunday, May 18th from 5pm – 9pm / Admiral Baker Clubhouse
An evening of live music, dancing, dinner, and entertainment to benefit the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.  This fundraiser features the San Diego debut of the Au Brothers Jazz Band, a Japanese American group currently touring the West Coast.
Download the invitation here.

Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066: The Tag Project
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
March 1 – May 24

  • Opening Reception: Friday, March 14, 6pm – 8pm
  • Talking Art, A Conversation with Wendy Maruyama: March 20, 6:30pm-9:00pm


The Thursday Club Rummage Sale
Saturday & Sunday, March 8 and 9
Balboa Park Activity Center (east side of Park Blvd. near Veterans Memorial)

The 87th annual Thursday Club Rummage Sale – San Diego’s largest thrift, estate and garage sale – will be held Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the large Balboa Park Activity Center. All proceeds will benefit the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego and 16 other Balboa Park and local community charities and organizations from children to the elderly, health, veterans, arts, life skills, animals, nature and education.

There will be thousands of items and bargains galore. Free admission and lots of parking. For more information or to make a donation call (619) 224-5264; or

JAHSSD Santa Anita Assembly Center Visit / March 29, 2014
Cost is $60 per person, which includes roundtrip transportation by bus from San Diego, admission, race program and BBQ buffet luncheon, with reserved space at the east end of the grandstand.  Seating limited to 50 people on the bus. Please download the flyer or contact Mich Himaka at (619) 660-9865 or Jeanne Elyea at (619) 690-1151 or for more information.

Life Interrupted: Personal Sketches Behind Barbed Wire Santa Anita, Summer 1942
Riyo Sato (1913—2009)
September 14 through November 2, 2013
Ruth & Charles Gilb Historical Museum of Arcadia, CA
For more information please download the flyer

July 24 4:00 -7:00 PM Balboa Park get together. Come view our JAHSSD exhibition at the Japanese Friendship Garden from 4-5pm, and then walk over to the San Diego History Center (1649 El Prado in Balboa Park (Casa de Balboa)) to have a light bento dinner and view the revised Issei women exhibition in our modest gallery space in the San Diego History Center. For bento orders, please leave your name and number of bento on our office answering machine at (619) 338-8181 or send the same information to You can pay $7 for each bento ordered when you pick them up at the San Diego History Center.

Public Meeting for Tule Lake Unit General Management Plan
Friday, July 26, 10am-12pm
Thornton Theatre San Diego History Center 1649 El Prado
The National Park Service invites you to be a part of a national dialogue about the future of Tule Lake.  The Tule Lake Unit is one of the newest units of the National Park System, designated in 2008. The purpose of the Tule Lake Unit is to preserve, study, and interpret the history and setting of the incarceration and segregation of Japanese Americans at Tule Lake during World War II. Your ideas will contribute to a long-term plan for development and management of Tule Lake.  To request a newsletter, be added to the mailing list, access dates and locations for meetings, and provide comments online, please visit: or send an email to:

August 17 2:00 – 5:00 PM – Looking Like the Enemy: Honoring Veterans of World War II and the Korean Conflict.
In partnership with the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center (in the former chapel building at the old Navy Hospital in Balboa Park), there will be a screening of the new 28-minute film Honor and Sacrifice, and two short presentations by Linda McLemore about her amazing progress in finding World War II veterans eligible for the Congressional Gold Medal, and by Robert M. Wada, Korean War veteran and author. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets for the event are $10.00 for general public and $5.00 for VMMC and JAHSSD Members. Light Refreshments will be served. Please make a reservation by emailing the VMMC at or calling 619-239-2300.  For more information on the film please visit

Use this on-line donation form for to pay for your tickets: click “Other” and enter the amount, $10.00 each for general admission ticket and/or $5.00 each for VMMC or JAHSSD Member’s ticket. Then Click “Other” in Contribution block and enter “Ticket Aug 17th” in the space provided. Complete the form and click Submit A secure Credit Card entry form will come up for you to complete the ticket payment VMMC can also take your credit card over the phone or you may pay by check or cash at the door.

June 7, 2012 through May 31, 2013
This Land is Your Land, this Land is My Land, Japanese Americans in Chula Vista
Chula Vista Heritage Museum
360 Third Avenue, Chula Vista
Tuesday & Thursday 12 – 4pm  Saturday 12-3
Free admission. The exhibition focuses on contributions by early Japanese immigrants which helped make Chula Vista a successful agricultural community, and explores what is different about immigrant workers involved in agriculture today.
Read about the opening here

May 27, 2013 JAHSSD cordially invites you to the dedication of the ISSEI MEMORIAL BENCH on MAY 27 at 9:15 a.m. during the Tri-Church Interfaith Memorial Day Service, Mount Hope Cemetery (enter at Market Street). Conceived, funded and built by JAHSSD as a tribute to San Diego’s Issei (first generation) of Japanese immigrants, the marble bench will offer respite to those visiting grave sites in the so-called Old Japanese Section of the cemetery where many Issei are buried. The two-sided bench, located near the Japanese American Veterans Memorial Monument and flag pole dedicated by JAHSSD in 2005, includes a memorial plaque on its surface and two permanent vases for flower offerings at its base.

The annual Memorial Day Service is hosted by Asian Pacific Post 4851, Buddhist Temple of San Diego, Pioneer Oceanview United Church of Christ and San Diego Japanese Christian Church.

May 30, 2013 Japanese documentary: “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo”

San Diego Natural History Museum, Members: $9/non-members $12

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo opens in modern-day Japan (where a single beetle sold for $90,000) and delves into the country’s age-old love affair with bugs. Working backward through history, the non-fiction film untangles the web of cultural influences behind Japan’s rich and enriching relationship with insects. First released in 2009, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo was nominated for the Truer Than Fiction Award at the 25th Independent Spirit Awards.

June 6, 6:30pm, San Diego Japanese American Citizens League Invites You to Join Us for Preview Night! Mixer with the Asian Business Association, Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce, Lao American Coalition, Microloans for Mothers

Mo`olelo Performing Arts presents at 8 pm “Extraordinary Chambers” at the 10th Avenue Theatre and Arts Center 930 10th Ave just south of Broadway. (The name comes from the special tribunal established by the government of Cambodia to address war crimes of the Khmer Rouge.)

The Friends of the Chula Vista Library will host a free showing of the 1976 movie “Farewell to Manzanar” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the Chula Vista Civic Center library, 465 F Street.

This event is being held conjunction with an exhibit at the Chula Vista
Heritage Museum documenting the history of the local Japanese community,
including its internment during World War II. The movie, based on the book
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, focuses on Jeanne’s
experiences as a young girl at the Manzanar internment camp and her family’s
re-entry into the community after the war.

The exhibit, developed in partnership with the Japanese American Historical
Society of San Diego, will close on May 30. The museum is located at 360
Third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday and
Thursday, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Recently one of our Charter Lifetime members MITS KAWAMOTO spoke candidly about her childhood internment experience at the La Mesa branch of the San Diego County Library. Jose Villanueva taped and edited it for the County TV network. Beginning December 1, the feature will air on COUNTY CHRONICLES, San Diego County’s magazine show. County Chronicles air 7 days a week at 7:00 am, 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm. Find the County’s channel at Cox N 19, Cox S 24, Time Warner 24 and Digital Time Warner 124. Please help us share Mits’ story especially with young people you know!  Click here for the link to the story. 

May 11th JAHSSD will be hosting the JAPAN booth and presenting “Childrens Day in Japan” for the 4th year! Come by this Saturday and learn how to make an origami “popper” and annoy your friends! See our display of children’s toys and pick up information on ongoing and upcoming local Japanese cultural events. The ACF is free and family-friendly with live music, ethnic eats, entertainment and education in a great outdoor setting. Plenty of free parking!

May 8th at 1pm or  May 9th at 5pm   Former San Diegan Paul M.Okimoto speaking about his book Oh! Poston, Why Don’t You Cry for Me?  The Wednesday afternoon event will be held at San Diego City College, and the Thursday night talk will be at JAHSSD’s new location in the San Diego History Center, Balboa Park.

May 15th all day Bus tour to the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles to see the traveling Smithsonian exhibition American Heroes: Japanese American WWII Nisei Soldiers and the real Congressional Gold Medal, replicas of which were awarded to veterans last year.  There is a fee for this bus trip.  For this event only, contact Linda McLemore or Jeanne Elyea or  (619) 690-1151. For more information download the flyer and registration form.

May 2, 5-7pm  Reception for opening of Japanese Woodworkers exhibition at the Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park, 2215 Pan American Road East. Please RSVP here

April 25, 6pm, JACL Scholarship fundraiser at Sushi On A Roll. For more information please visit:

April 20, Saturday,  San Diego Storytelling Festival at the Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024 1-760-753-7376.  The Festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features more than two dozen storytellers in three workshops, eight storytelling programs.  Former internees Dennis Shimamoto, Yuki Kawamoto and Jeanne Elyea will speak from 1:00- 1:50pm

April 5, 5-7 pm,  join JAHSSD members and friends for the opening of “They Did it All:  Women of the Issei Generation” at the Women’s  Museum of California, located in Barracks 16 at Liberty Station (the former Naval Training Center).

The exhibition explores the experiences and lives of Japanese women after arriving in San Diego County early in the 1900s and traces their lives through stories, photographs, and artifacts. Exhibit runs from April 5 – May 28, 2013

March 14, Point Loma Nazarene University:  panel discussion with former internees Mits Kawamoto and Mich Himaka.

OPEN HOUSE, February 18th 5-7pm
Tour our new space inside the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park (1649 El Prado).
Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, October 10, 6:00 pm.
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of Farewell to Manzanar, will speak at the Chula Vista Public Library, Civic Center branch,  365 F Street. FREE.

Friday, October 12, noon – 4:00 pm.
Special hours at “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land – Japanese Americans in Chula Vista”  at the Chula Vista Heritage Museum, 360 Third Avenue, Chula Vista.  FREE.

Saturday, October 13, 11:00 am–1:00 pm.
JAHSSD Annual Meeting, at the Buddhist Temple San Diego, 2929 Market Street. The meeting is free, but you must pre-order a bento lunch by September 30 using the form below.

Sunday October 14, noon-2:00 pm.
Reception at the Old Globe Theatre, Craig Noel garden for JAHSSD members and guests.  Balboa Park.  FREE.  You’ll be able to see our new exhibition:  “Allegiance:  a San Diego Perspective” in the Museum of Man Annex near the reception. If you are attending Allegiance at 2:00, you may pick up your tickets during this reception.

Sunday October 14, 2:00pm.
JAHSSD theatre party at the Old Globe Theatre to see Allegiance: A new American Music.  Advance ticket purchase required.  Contact Linda Canada (858) 457-9676 if you have questions or need tickets.

Monday October 15, 7:00pm.
JAHSSD members share their personal internment stories in Hattox Hall at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.  FREE, but advance reservations requested with the Old Globe:   Speakers:  Jeanne Elyea, Mich Himaka and Yuki Kawamoto.

April 21, 2012 to December 31, 2012
TUNA! Celebrating San Diego’s Famous Fishing Industry  
San Diego History Center House of Hospitality
1649 El Prado, Balboa Park.
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission:  $6 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children; free to members.  A family oriented exhibition about the Japanese, Italian, and Portuguese fishermen who made San Diego, for a time, the center of the tuna fishing universe.  The exhibition contains many artifacts and photographs from the collection of the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.

New Documentary ” MIS: Human Secret Weapon”
One San Diego Date Only! June 9, 2012
Four screenings: 11am / 1:40pm / 4:20pm / 7pm
$10 advance sale tickets
Junichi Suzuki’s last documentary in a trilogy about World War II Nisei MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE: Human Secret Weapon is a joint Japan-U.S. documentary about the secret WWII Military Intelligence Service unit which was made up of young Nisei recruited out of the internment camps. They used their Japanese language skills to help defeat the enemy.

GASLAMP 15 THEATRES / 701 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego 92101
Download Flyer for more information

Homefront La Jolla
La Jolla Historical Society
780 Prospect Avenue, La Jolla.
Included in the exhibition are the stories of Japanese Americans evacuated from La Jolla, and objects on loan from the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.

May 9, 2012 at 5:00PM
Lecture:  The Homefront for Japanese Americans
by Susan Hasegawa Professor of History, San Diego City College.
La Jolla Historical Society 780 Prospect Avenue, Located on the corner of Prospect Street and Eads Avenue, La Jolla.  Lecture prices: Members $15; General Public $20

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Purple Moon Dance company at the University Art Gallery, SDSU.  This Bay area dance company has created a performance about relocation and internment that will be performed among the Tags in Wendy Maruyama’s exhibition.  A special tribute to San Diego County families who were relocated is included.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Susan Hasegawa is a panelist on the topic “Three Communities on the Home Front 1942-45.  Coronado Library, Winn Room,  640 Orange Avenue.  Other panelists are from the Coronado Historical Association and the La Jolla Historical Society.  JAHSSD has objects on exhibition at both these locations.

JAHSSD Co-Presents “I WISH” at SDAFF Spring Showcase
San Diego Asian Film Foundation’s SPRING SHOWCASE is APRIL 19-26 at the Hazard Center UltraStar Cinemas in Mission Valley. JAHSSD and BTSD was pleased to co-present the delightful Japanese film “I WISH” (KISEKI) on APRIL 20 (FRI., 6 PM) and APRIL 22 (SUNDAY, 3:15 PM).

March 8, 2012
Lecture by Mira Nakashima
Mingei Museum
1439 El Prado, Balboa Park.
Limited seating: contact Nakashima appears as part of the Tag Project celebration events at SDSU. SOLD OUT

March 9, 2012  through October 2012
Coronado on the Frontline: 1942-1945
Coronado Historical Association
1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm Saturday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
Suggested donation: $4  Included in the exhibition are the stories of three Japanese American families evacuated  from Coronado, and objects on loan from the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.

March 10, 2012 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Tag Project Luncheon
SDSU Alumni Center

October 2011 Annual Meeting
Buddhist Temple San Diego
Kansha award presented to Akira “Jumbo” Takeshita

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