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Tanforan Memorial Event Is Aug. 27; WWII Nikkei Internees Invited

A public unveiling of the Tanforan Memorial is scheduled for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Aug. 27, just outside the Tanforan BART station in San Bruno, California, the Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee (TACMC) announced.

During World War II, the U.S. Army converted what was then the Tanforan Racetrack into one of 17 temporary detention centers at which persons of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated while more permanent detention centers in the inland United States were being built.

For six months in 1942, the Tanforan Assembly Center held nearly 8,000 Bay Area Japanese, most of whom were U.S. citizens, without a trial or due process of law.

“It is essential for us as residents of San Mateo County and the Bay Area to learn about and remember the grave injustice that occurred when so many families of Japanese ancestry, including the members of the San Mateo Buddhist Temple and other Bay District Sanghas, were denied their rights and wrongfully incarcerated in deplorable conditions at the Tanforan Racetrack,” said Rev. Henry Adams, Resident Minister of the San Mateo Buddhist Temple and an advisor to the committee.

“It is our sincere hope that this visible memorial will remind us of the need to live with wisdom and compassion in difficult times to prevent such an injustice from happening in the future,” Rev. Adams said.

The Tanforan Memorial is the culmination of a decade of work by TACMC to create a permanent monument to honor those who were imprisoned at Tanforan and ensure that the injustice they suffered is not forgotten.

Construction of the memorial began in early 2022 after years of planning and fundraising. The memorial will feature a replica horse stall in which internees were housed and a statue of the Mochida sisters, two young girls who were in a famous photograph taken by Dorothea Lange in 1942, which will be unveiled at the ribbon cutting.

TACMC invites all former internees from Tanforan and other World War II assembly centers and/or internment camps to participate in the ceremony.

If you are, or know of, a former internee who would like to be a participant, please contact us by sending an email at by Aug. 15.

Please include the internee’s name, age, assembly center and/or internment camp at which they were detained, and any arrangements needed in the email message.


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