New exhibit in DTLA uses modern technology to tell personal stories of hardships endured in WWII Japanese internment camps

  • Technology
  • May 14, 2022
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  • 3 minutes read


DOWNTOWN LA (KABC) – A new exhibition in downtown Los Angeles uses modern technology to tell personal stories of the hardships of Japanese internment camps. Visitors to the museum will receive a grim education about the camps that forced many American citizens to be imprisoned during World War II. It is a new way of seeing and experiencing the sad history of the camps, with the augmented reality that brings viewers closer to the struggle that so many Japanese Americans were facing.

“My mother had a hotel. My family lost everything because she had to leave the hotel,” said Michi Tanioka, a survivor of the camp.

Survivors share their stories at the Japanese-American National Museum in central LA. Most were children when they were forced into the camps during World War II. Artist Masaki Fujihata used old photos and new technologies to bring their stories to life.

“It is very important to offer the visitor a new experience. Experience means the contrast between ordinary life and past events,” Fujihata said.

Augmented reality allows visitors to delve into the story and the organizers of the exhibition feel that perspectives can change.

“You see an incredible picture remarkable in their scale and the power they have,” UCLA professor Michael Emmerich said.

The old cameras that took these photos are also here to see … more reminders of this sad chapter in American history.

“It’s an American story, they had their hardships and they didn’t give up on their American dream, this was their home,” said June Aochi Berk, a camp survivor.

For many the wounds have healed; but there are still scars. And now they can be seen, and even felt, in a way that the organizers of the exhibition hope will be remembered.

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