Starting in 1890, Issei (first generation) came to the Santa Clara Valley in search of work. In 1900, Japanese Americans established Japantown, a place for them to meet their social, cultural and economic needs in a society hostile to their presence.
535 North Fifth Street
San Jose, California 95112
Phone (408) 294-3138
FAX (408) 294-1657
JAMsj provides speakers who will go to schools or organizations to give first-hand accounts of life in the internment camps and explain how the former incarcerees reestablished themselves after their release. The speakers program only covers grades 8 and higher. For more information, please contact the JAMsj Outreach Coordinator at (408) 294-3138 or please send email to email@example.com. Visit our Outreach Programs page for information on our speaker program.
JAMsj provides a teacher curriculum guide to educate the public about the WW II incarceration of Japanese Americans and its implications on contemporary issues. This teacher’s resource guide was created by a group of teachers, both active and retired, who have a deep and continuing interest in exploring Japanese American internment and civil liberties issues.
The JAMsj Library includes print and electronic instructional materials that teachers can incorporate into their curriculum to educate students about the Japanese American experience. The history of the World War II forced removal and “internment” followed by the Redress legislation of 1988 can be used to demonstrate that citizens must be ever vigilant in order to protect the principles of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
To download the teacher curriculum guide and for more information, visit the Teacher Curriculum Guide page.
Download flyer for the Korematsu Day Teacher Workshops .
Docent-led Group Tours
Docent-led tours are available to groups upon request. Due to limited resources, priority will be given to middle and high school classes. Lower grade levels may be scheduled pending availability of resources.
Japantown Walking Tours
Did you know that San Jose's Japantown is one of only three Japantowns in the United States? A JAMSJ docent can show you all the historic sites including Issei Memorial Building and the Buddhist Church. For more information or to make a reservation, visit Japantown Walking Tours.
Lasting Stories: The Resettling of San Jose Japantown
Lasting Stories is a digital visual history project that documents the starting or restarting of small businesses in San Jose's Japantown during the resettlement era (1945-1965), when incarcerees returned from camps.
For many Japanese Americans in the community, the wartime experience is a difficult, painful subject to recall, yet it is vital to remember and cherish the firsthand memories we still have with us today. We are calling upon the community to help expand our archive of oral histories, to ask your relatives, friends, neighbors or parents to bring their stories to JAMsj. Your family's story could be the one to bridge gaps and touch the heart of an upcoming generation.
This is how it works. The storyteller--we like to call them narrators--will come into the museum and sit down with our interviewers, usually two members of the oral history team. We will audio record the story and sometime also video record them as well. While we always encourage narrators to elaborate and share their own unique perspectives, some of the questions we lead with are: Can you share your memories right before Pearl Harbor? Did you return to your hometown and what was it like? What trait do you have that reminds you of your parents? What stories do you remember hearing from your parents? These are just the tip of the iceberg, and we always draw upon what is shared in the story, allowing the narrator to take us on a journey of their life.
We are looking for more stories! If you'd like to share yours, please go to the Share Your Story page.
Go to the Oral History page to listen to these inspiring stories.