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McGehee Japanese internment museum commemorates 10 years of preserving history



McGehee, Arkansas – The 17,000 Japanese Americans who were compelled to reside in internment camps in the state of Arkansas in the year 1942 are a significant part of the state’s history.

During the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the World War 2 Japanese Internment Museum in McGehee, many of the families of people who were coerced into being imprisoned in the Rohwer and Jerome camps in Arkansas returned to the state.

George Takei, who plays Sulu on Star Trek, addressed the crowd assembled to commemorate the anniversary of the time he and his family were detained at Rohwer concentration camp when he was 5 years old.

Japanese people who were forced to flee their homes were made to live behind barbed wire fences.

Another person who was incarcerated at one of the camps, George Teraoka, who was 102 years old at the time and was present at the hearing with his son Steve, stated that he was coerced into leaving his country of origin.

“My dad had to ship out from his home on his 21st birthday,” Steven said “So, it was quite traumatic at that time.”

“It was a real cultural exchange here between black and white people who had never seen a Japanese person before and vice versa,” Steven said.

According to Steven, it has been on the list of things to do for a very long time for his father. Because of COVID-19, he was unable to take advantage of the chance to travel back in time.

“One of the first things he talked about was coming on this pilgrimage to Rohwer because it had such an impact on his life,” Steven said.

The celebration of the 10-year milestone comes to a close on Thursday evening with a barbecue and a charity auction.

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