“Opening October 12th in the Tucson Desert Art Museum, “Citizen/Enemy: Japanese
American Internment” confronts an uncomfortable period in American history. The 1941
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor left America in a state of paranoia and uncertainty.
Concern was voiced that American citizens of Japanese descent would have sympathies
for the enemy-at-war Japan and could transmit critical information regarding the war
effort to the enemy.


This paranoia, coupled with economic pressures, led to the 1942 Executive Order from
President Franklin D. Roosevelt which enabled the US government to relocate people of
Japanese descent to internment camps. Approximately 120,000 persons were relocated
and spent the duration of the war in poorly designed, makeshift camps, some of which
were in Arizona. When relocated, people could bring only what they could carry. They
were forced to board up their homes and leave their farms and jobs for an indefinite time.
“Citizen/Enemy” describes the tragedy of this political action and the resulting
repercussions for Japanese Americans. Large-scale images from noted photographer
Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee and others memorialize this period and offer a guide for
reflection in the exhibition. Although some reparations were eventually paid to Japanese Americans,

they were never fully compensated for their economic losses or the loss in
dignity and freedom that citizens felt during this time. Many lost their farms, homes, and
livelihoods completely due to the internment.

“As we, as a Nation, review current immigration policies and challenges to curriculum in
our education system for our youth, this exhibition provides a timely reminder that
sometimes history is uncomfortable to view, but that we can always learn from our past.”
Rhonda Smith, the Director of the Museum states. “Our Museum asks guests to visualize
history through art. This exhibition uses large photographs, installations, and historical
documents to encourage our guests to do just that: imagine that they were forced to
endure what happened during this time to Japanese Americans.”
Citizen/Enemy: Japanese American Internment opens October 12th

and continues through March 25, 2023.

An event is planned for the Day of Remembrance in February

About Us:
Tucson Desert Art Museum, 501(c)(3) organization that opened in November 2013,
presents thought-provoking exhibitions that explore the art, history, and cultures of the
Southwest and surrounding regions. The museum showcases a world-class permanent
collection of Native American textiles, western art, and artifacts, as well as special yearly
exhibitions. The facility includes a Southwestern art gallery and gift shop and plenty of
dedicated parking. The Museum offers guided tours of the permanent collection and
special exhibitions for schools, seniors, and community groups.”

Museum admission is $10.00/adults, $8.00/seniors, and $6.00/students.
Address: Tucson Desert Art Museum: 7000 East Tanque Verde Road, Tucson, AZ 85715
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10 AM – 3 PM

Carolyn’s note:  TDART had a similar exhibit back in 2017 and 2018, and this is an improved, updated exhibit, to run through March 2023.  Stay tuned for a Feb. 19 Day of Remembrance event commemorating the 81st anniversary of the signing of E.O. 9066 by FDR. My father (dental student at University of Southern California) was in Los Angeles when that E.O was signed, but he was able to flee to Chicago via train, before the large relocation occurred on the West Coast. 80 years later, USC awarded him a honorary bachelor’s degree on April 1, 2022 for their wrongdoing of expelling him and 120 other students from their school due to their race.

Another relative, a first cousin’s grandfather was a Buddhist priest on the island of Kauai, and he was picked up after Pearl Harbor by the FBI and shipped to a camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He chose to repatriate back to Japan, and died in the American bombing of Osaka in July, 1945.  So he never returned to his wife and 6 daughters on Kauai. One of those daughters married my uncle, who served as a medic in the 442nd Regimental Combat Battalion in Europe.