Ireichō: New project brings respect to thousands detained during WWII

Duncan Ryuken Williams (center) gathers around the Ireichō monument at the Japanese American National Museum. Credit: Mike Palma.

Thousands of people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Families were separated, taken from their homes, and forced to live in large, remote camps such as Manzanar. For decades, there was never a complete census of everyone who was detained, and the official number of those incarcerated sat around 110,000. 

Now USC researchers have discovered that nearly 15,000 additional people were detained. Every one of the 125,284 names of people imprisoned are listed in a new book known as the Ireichō monument. It’s 1,000 pages long and weighs 25 pounds. The book is on view at the Japanese American National Museum through September 2023.