Kanji Sahara gave a talk in 2019 on a proposed World War II Japanese American incarceration memorial in Torrance to the Greater L.A. JACL. He is pictured with chapter leaders Janet Okubo (left), Louise Sakamoto (right), and Miyako Kadogawa (standing). (Photo by Kathee Yamamoto)

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) on July 16 secured $5 million in the state budget to build a memorial in the City of Torrance to teach the history of the mass incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans without due process of law during World War II. 

The proposed memorial will include the engravement of the names of all individuals removed or excluded pursuant to President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 and unjustly incarcerated in concentration camps operated by the U.S. government during the war.

Muratsuchi stated, “I am pleased to deliver state funding to build this memorial, so that we will never forget the lessons of the World War II Japanese American mass incarceration. This has been a dream for many South Bay residents like Dr. Kanji Sahara of Torrance, who has been doggedly pursuing this memorial project for years. I want to thank Torrance Mayor Pat Furey and the City Council for supporting this project with a proposed site at Columbia Park in North Torrance, home to the largest Japanese American community in the mainland United States.”

“I am very thankful for the leadership of Assemblyman Muratsuchi for championing this memorial,” said Mayor Furey. “I expect the memorial will serve two purposes — honoring those who actually suffered internment and educating folks so that actions like Executive Order 9066 will never occur again.”

“I was 8 years old in 1942 when I was imprisoned with my family at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, then sent to camps in Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas,” said Dr. Sahara. “I know how it feels to be put in a concentration camp. I look forward to working with the City of Torrance and Assemblymember Muratsuchi to build the Torrance World War II Japanese American Incarceration Memorial.” 

Muratsuchi represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes El Camino Village, Gardena, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, and West Carson. 

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