The New Ensemble performs at the Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage, which had over 300 attendees. (Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)

SAN FRANCISCO — The annual Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Program highlights this year include:

• Historical exhibits specific to the Japanese and Japanese American experience on Angel Island, including those sent there from Hawaii during World War II

• Family history consultations with volunteers from the California Genealogical Society

• Blessing by Japanese American Religious Federation, presented by Rev. Grace Kaori Suzuki, pastor, Christ United Presbyterian Church

• Japanese bento lunches (optional)

The schedule is designed to allow a free flow of activity during the day. Participants can visit the Immigration Station exhibits, see displays on Japanese and Japanese American history at Angel Island, engage in genealogy research, learn about community history and what various organizations are doing, and enjoy time with family, friends and colleagues.

Presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation in partnership with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, National Japanese American Historical Society, and California Genealogical Society, with support from the California State Parks, San Francisco State University Asian American Studies, San Francisco JACL, and J-Sei.

Packages are available with ferry transportation from Tiburon or San Francisco’s Pier 41.

For more information, email or visit

About Angel Island

From 1910 to 1940, Angel Island was the site of an immigration station that functioned as the West Coast equivalent of Ellis Island, although the Angel Island facility also enforced policies designed to exclude, rather than welcome, many Pacific Coast immigrants coming from 82 countries.

In 1970, the site was slated for demolition because of its deteriorated condition; but the discovery of Chinese poetry that had been carved into the walls of the detention barracks saved it from destruction and led to renewed interest in the Angel Island Immigration Station. Most importantly, the discovery of poetry increased awareness of the need to access the vivid lessons of sacrifice and triumph in the history of immigration.

Sparked by the discovery, Bay Area Asian Americans, spearheaded by Paul Chow, formed the Angel Island Immigration Station Historical Advisory Committee (AIISHAC). This organization studied how best to preserve the station for historical interpretation. In July 1976, their hard work came to fruition as the state legislature appropriated $250,000 to restore and preserve the Immigration Station as a state monument.

The barracks opened to the public in 1983, and members of AIISHAC created the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) to continue preservation and educational efforts for the site, and to increase awareness of the contributions Pacific Coast immigrants make.

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