New exhibit in DTLA uses modern technology to tell personal stories of hardships endured in WWII Japanese internment camps


DOWNTOWN LA (KABC)-A new exhibit in Downtown Los Angeles is using modern technology to tell personal stories of the hardships experienced in Japanese internment camps. Visitors to the museum will get a sad education about the camps that forced many U.S. citizens to be imprisoned during World War II. It’s a new way to see and experience the sad history of the camps, with an augmented reality that brings viewers closer to the struggle faced by many Japanese Americans.

“My mother ran a hotel. My family lost everything because she had to leave the hotel,” said Michi Tanioka, a camp survivor.

Survivors share their stories at the Japanese American National Museum in Downtown LA. Most were children when they were forced into camps during World War II. Artist Masaki Fujihata uses old photographs and new technology to bring their stories to life.

“It’s really important to give the visitor a new experience. Experience means the difference between ordinary life and the events of the past,” Fujihata said.

Augmented reality allows visitors to walk into history and exhibit organizers feel it can change perspectives.

“You see the unique picture that is unique in their size and the power they have,” said UCLA Professor Michael Emmerich.

The old cameras that took these photos are also here to see … more reminders of this sad chapter of American history.

“It’s an American story, they’re in their hardships that they haven’t abandoned their American Dream, it’s their home,” said June Aochi Berk, a camp survivor.

For many are the wounds that are healed; but there are still scars. And now they can be seen, and perhaps even felt, in ways that the organizers will remember the hope.

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