Photos on display reveal what life was like in a Japanese internment camp

Photos on display reveal what life was like in a Japanese internment camp
Curious and eager children lined up outside a toy loan center within the camp. (NVMC)
A family photo was among the images in Miyatake's collection.
A family photo was among the images in Miyatake's collection.

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Visitors to a new Kahului exhibit can get a look inside what life was like in a Japanese internment camp through new photos now on display.

The exhibit — titled “Toyo: Behind the Glass Eye” — opened at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center (NVMC) on Saturday.

On display are the photos taken by Toyo Miyatake. In 1942, he smuggled a camera into the Manzanar Internment Camp in California.

He was a renown photographer who set out to capture what internment life was like.

“These stories are uniquely American," said Deidre Teagarden, NVMC Board Member and former Executive Director. “They transcend ethnicity, they transcend gender.”

“As people come in and review the exhibits, no matter what your background, everybody is touched in a different way. It’s just so important to continue that conversation to understand what happened in the past and how it affects us today,” she added.

The photos show what life was like for Japanese-American families in the camp. One photo shows a line of eager children outside a toy loan center. Another shows young men alongside a delivery truck loaded with goods.

“I don’t think in his lifetime, he got to really see his collection be this exposed. And for it to be travelling across the Pacific Ocean and shared with the people of Hawaii, it would be very very special to him,” Miyatake’s grandson Alan Miyatake said.

The photos will be on display from Feb. 16 through June 14, weekdays from noon to 4 p.m.

Young men rest upon a delivery truck.
Young men rest upon a delivery truck.

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