The Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee is pleased to announce its first in-person Commemoration in three years, to be held Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 11 am to 12 pm on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards. 

Confirmed keynote speaker will be community activist, Manzanar Pilgrimage pioneer, and author of his memoir, ac-tiv-ist: noun: a person who works to bring about political or social change, Warren Furutani.  Also confirmed: Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar Committee, which is planning its 54th  Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 29, 2023, also its first in-person pilgrimage in three years; and Ryan Horio, recipient of the third annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant (co-sponsored by the VJAMM Committee and the Manzanar Committee) and currently a student at UCLA and a member of the Kyodo Taiko team.  

The VJAMM Committee dedicated the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument on April 27, 2017 to commemorate the forced removal of some 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu in April, 1942, and their incarceration in what would become the American concentration camp at Manzanar.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, empowering the US Army ultimately to forcibly remove some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the west coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California, to temporary assembly centers on county fair grounds and race tracks,

 Department of Justice detention facilities, and ten War Relocation Camps, all de facto prisons without due process for the duration of World War II.  

Photo courtesy of VJAMM

Persons of Japanese ancestry had been tracked and surveilled in parts of the United States since the 1930s, so after Imperial Japan bombed the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, US government agents quickly rounded up perceived leaders in the Japanese American community.  This included issei (“first generation,” born in Japan) who owned their own businesses, publishers of Japanese-language newspapers, Buddhist priests, martial arts dojo masters, and Japanese language school principals, for their influential roles in their respective organizations.  Many found themselves imprisoned in Department of Justice detention facilities, with no immediate way of communicating with their families about where they had been taken.

The VJAMM Committee hopes that the VJAMM Commemoration will “remind us to be forever vigilant about defending our Constitutional Rights.  The powers of government must never again perpetrate an injustice against any group based solely on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion.”

Hama Sushi’s Esther Chaing and Venice Arts Council/VJAMM committee member Suzanne Thompson.

The VJAMM Committee deeply appreciates Esther and Jung Chaing of Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice for hosting the eleventh annual VJAMM fundraiser on the evening of the VJAMM Commemoration, Thursday, April 20, 2023 from 4 pm to 9 pm.  Hama Sushi will generously donate 10% of all dinner proceeds to the VJAMM Committee for educational outreach, continuing maintenance of the monument, and funding for the Annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant.  Hama Sushi is located at 213 Windward “on the circle” in Venice. Call 310-396-8783 or go online at to make reservations or to order take-out.  

For more information about the annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant, please visit,, or


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