Exhibit shows daily life of Hawaiians of Japanese ancestry interned during WWII

The experience of the little-known and unjust internment of Hawai‘i residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II is revealed in a traveling exhibition, “Dark Clouds Over Paradise: The Hawai‘i Internees Story.”

Put on by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, the exhibition opens for two months on Kaua‘i today at the Kaua‘i Community College Library at noon.

Dr. Dennis Ogawa, chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa and author of best-sellers “Jan Ken Po: The World of Hawaii’s Japanese Americans” and “Kodomo No Tame Ni-For The Sake of The Children,” will present at the grand opening.

Debuted in 2004 at the JCCH Community Gallery on O‘ahu, “Dark Clouds Over Paradise” sheds light on the period in Hawai‘i history when about 1,400 Hawai‘i residents of Japanese ancestry — including distinguished Japanese issei (first generation) Buddhist, Shint and Christian priests, Japanese language school officials and commercial fishermen — were forced into makeshift camps throughout the territory of Hawai‘i following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some were later sent to camps on the Mainland.

Based on documents from the JCCH Resource Center and interviews of former internees, the exhibit depicts life in these Hawai‘i internment camps and shows how the internees passed their time behind barbed wire. Many played sports, wrote songs, started literary clubs and made handicrafts during this dark time in paradise.

Recently displayed at the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo and the Kailua-Kona Public Library, “Dark Clouds Over Paradise” is also slated to travel Maui.

Admission is free, and the exhibit is open during normal KCC Library hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, call the KCC Library at 245-8233.

For more information on the JCCH, call (808) 945-7633, e-mail info@jcch.com or visit www.jcch.com.

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