July 4, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Monument Marks a Dark Corner in Venice

Arnold Maeda was only 15-years-old when he and his family were forced away from their home and into an internment camp.

7:22am

by Melanie Camp

The Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument (VJAMM) Committee plans to hold a dedication ceremony for the VJAMM on Thursday, April 27, 2017. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards.

“Over several days in April 1942, about 1,000 people of Japanese ancestry from Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu reported to this corner, literally, with only what they could carry,” explained Phyllis Hayashibara of the VJAMM Committee.

Phyllis Hayashibara of the VJAAM Committee and the late Bill Rosendahl stand by a replica of the monument.

The “Civilian Exclusion Order” gave Japanese Americans “only days to register their families, dispose of their property and possessions; their businesses, their vehicles, and their pets,” said Hayashibara.

Hundreds of Japanese Americans gathered in Venice following the order. People lined up along Venice Boulevard waiting for buses that would take them directly to what became the War Relocation Authority internment camp called Manzanar, deep in Inyo County off Highway 395.  At the time, they did not know their destination, that the bus ride would take four hours, or that many of them would spend more than three years during World War II imprisoned.

The weight of the journey is somewhat reflected in the new monument. By the time the 14,000-pound VJAMM arrives in Venice it will have traveled thousands of miles; from India to Arvin, California, for engraving, Venice will be its final destination.

It has been a seven-year toil for the VJAMM Committee; collecting letters of support from various community groups, raising funds, as well as chasing reports from civil engineers, soil engineers, and structural engineers to make the monument come to life. The committee needed to secure approvals from the California State Senate and Assembly, the Los Angeles City Council, the California Coastal Commission, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, the California Department of Transportation, and had to apply for building permits from the City.

The dedication of the VJAMM will also mark the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.  EO 9066 followed Japan’s December 7, 1941 bombing of a U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii, and led to the detainment of people living in the U.S. whose only offense was that they “looked like the enemy.”  

The San Francisco News reported on April 30, 1942, “The evacuation was coast-wide, covering zones from Alaska to Arizona. Approximately 100,000 Japanese were living in the Pacific defense zone when the exclusions began. Of these, possibly 5,000 to 8,000 moved out voluntarily. In addition, Japanese formed the majority of the dangerous aliens seized in the area by the FBI, a total of under 5,000 on the Pacific Coast.”

Brian Maeda was born in Manzanar. He stands with his brother, Arnold.

Brian Tadashi Maeda was born in Manzanar. Both he and his brother, Arnold Tadao Maeda will have their words engraved onto one side of the monument.  

“My family reported to this very corner, before being sent to Manzanar concentration camp with only what they could carry. They, and many other families lost everything: their homes, their businesses, their liberties,” Maeda’s words will read.

Mae Kageyama Kakehashi with her 1941 Venice High School photo.

Mae Kageyama Kakehashi will also have her words immortalized in granite. Before being sent to Manzanar, Kakehashi’s family lived in Venice, and she studied at Venice High School. “When the camp closed, we were given $25 and told to leave. But we had nothing when we left camp – no home, no jobs, no prospects.  It was very hard on all of us,” she said.

While the solid black granite obelisk will forever mark a dark corner of Venice Beach history, Hayashibara is optimistic the VJAMM will act as a reminder; safeguarding future generations from injustice.

“The VJAMM seeks to remind the living 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,” said Hayashibara.

Community activist, and Manzanar Pilgrimage pioneer, Warren Furutani, has confirmed as the keynote speaker at the monument’s dedication ceremony. After the VJAMM dedication, Hama Sushi in Venice will hold the sixth annual VJAMM fundraiser.  Owner, Esther Chaing will donate 100 percent of all pre-ordered bento lunch profits and 10 percent of all dinner sales on the day to the VJAMM Committee. The Committee will continue to raise funds for the monument’s ongoing maintenance.

Engraved on the front side of the VJAMM will be: “Executive Order 9066 empowered the U.S. Army to declare areas of Washington, Oregon, and California militarily sensitive. EO 9066 forced the removal of 120,000 Japanese and American citizens of Japanese ancestry from the west coast to be imprisoned in temporary assembly centers at fairgrounds and racetracks. Months later, they were taken to ten American concentration camps under the War Relocation Authority. This forced removal and imprisonment, without any regard to due process or the writ of habeas corpus, violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution.”  

Last month, President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13769 tried to place restrictions on immigration and refugee entry into the United States. Federal Courts quickly struck down the move while demonstrations took place across the country. That is why Hayashibara believes, “today, more than ever, the significance of the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument cannot be emphasized enough.”

Related Posts

Newsom Shuts Down Los Angeles Dining Rooms

July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020 1

Earlier this week Los Angeles County’s public health director said that almost half of restaurants and bars were not following...

Venice Beach Scores High Marks on Water Quality Report

July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020 1

Heal the Bay releases annual report By Sam Catanzaro Venice Beach scored high marks in Heal the Bay’s annual water...

Video: West Los Angeles VA Tent Row

June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

What is the deal with the row of tents outside the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus? Learn more in...

County Directs Closures of Beaches During 4th of July Weekend

June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020 1

Fireworks displays also banned in county By Sam Catanzaro After reporting the highest single one-day COVID-19 case count, Los Angeles...

LA County’s Highest Single-Day COVID-19 Case Count Reported

June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020 2

One in every 140 people in the county has the virus and is infectious, say LA County health officials By...

Newsom Orders Bars in LA County to Close

June 28, 2020

June 28, 2020 1

Countywide COVID-19 cases approaching 100,000 By Sam Catanzaro California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered the closure of Los Angeles County...

Closing Abbot Kinney on Weekends for Pedestrians?

June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020 2

Venice Neighborhood Council June meeting recap, part 2. Read part 1 HERE. As businesses adapt to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)...

One Venice-Area Sexual Assault Suspect Still Sought by Police

June 24, 2020

June 24, 2020 1

LAPD arrest one suspect on suspicion of forced sexual penetration By Sam Catanzaro After arresting one suspect, Los Angeles police...

Second Victim Dies in Venice CVS Shooting

June 23, 2020

June 23, 2020 2

Double homicide occurs at Lincoln Boulevard CVS Monday night By Sam Catanzaro A second victim has died following a shooting...

Fatal Shooting Occurs at Venice CVS

June 22, 2020

June 22, 2020 2

Update: https://yovenice.com/2020/06/23/second-victim-dies-in-venice-cvs-shooting/ Two men shot at CVS on Lincoln Boulevard By Sam Catanzaro A shooting at a Venice CVS has...

Video: Housing LA’s Homeless Under Freeway Underpasses

June 22, 2020

June 22, 2020

As ordered by a federal judge, Los Angeles will provide housing for almost 7,000 homeless individuals, especially those living under...

New Bethel Stained Glass Windows, New VNC Board Members, Speed Bumps?

June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020 2

Part 1 recap of the June 16 Venice Neighborhood Council Meeting By Angela McGregor The June 16th meeting of the...

Newsom Orders Statewide Mask Wearing

June 18, 2020

June 18, 2020 1

Los Angeles County reports highest daily COVID-19 Wednesday By Sam Catanzaro Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all Californians to wear...

Suspects Sought for Venice-Area Sexual Assaults

June 17, 2020

June 17, 2020 1

LAPD say two men sexually assaulted up to 13 women By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles police are on the lookout...

Schwarzenegger Skips Venice Gold’s Gym Workout Over Face Mask Policy

June 17, 2020

June 17, 2020 1

Gyms in Los Angeles County reopen By Sam Catanzaro Bodybuilder and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger skipped a workout at...