Nobuko Miyamoto (Photo by Michael Becker)

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will commemorate the Day of Remembrance with a free in-person event, “120,000 Stories: Nobuko Miyamoto on the Social Power of Music,” on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m.

Although the event is free, tickets must be reserved in advance via Eventbrite:

The Day of Remembrance is the annual recognition that marks the signing of Executive Order 9066, a document that President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented in 1942, two months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The order resulted in the incarceration of 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry who were U.S. citizens and 45,000 Japanese immigrants who were prohibited by law from becoming naturalized American citizens. They were housed in barbed wire-enclosed incarceration camps scattered from the states west of the Mississippi from March 1942 to March 1946.

Some 45 years later, the U.S. Congress recognized that the rights of the Japanese American community had been violated, and President Ronald Reagan signed HR 442, known as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided an apology and restitution to the living Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II.

Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director, will welcome the audience and speak about the roles of museums and public history as tools of social justice.

“Here we will explore how community activists are advancing discussions about history, accountability and injustice in our past, present and future,” Hartig said. “At the National Museum of American History, our mission is to empower people to create a just and compassionate future by fearlessly exploring, preserving and sharing the complexity of our past. We want to help people connect the dots between yesterday and today, so they can help move this divided country forward.”

A concert by the renowned composer, singer and activist, Nobuko Miyamoto and her ensemble will be followed by a conversation with Sojin Kim, curator at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The afternoon will conclude with an audience Q&A and signing of Miyamoto’s Smithsonian Folkways album “120,000 Stories” and memoir “Not Yo’ Butterfly.”

The event will pay tribute to two Japanese American leaders who played key roles in advancing Asian American and Pacific Islander history at the Smithsonian: Norman Mineta (1931–2022), former secretary of commerce and secretary of transportation and chair of the 1998 Smithsonian Asian Pacific American national advisory group, and Franklin Odo (1939–2022), founding director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

More information about the program is available on the museum’s website:

Miyamoto (b. 1939) is a songwriter, dance and theater artist, author and artistic director of Great Leap, who found her political and artistic voice in the Asian American movement. Her family was initially incarcerated at the Santa Anita detention center in California, then moved to Montana, Idaho and Utah, where they remained until returning to Los Angeles at the end of the war.

This event is hosted in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Support is provided by the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Japanese American Citizens League (national and Washington, D.C., chapters) and The Asian American Foundation.

Support of the museum’s efforts to document and share the history of the Japanese American experience is also made possible by the Japanese American History Endowment. Leadership support for the endowment was provided by SF Gassho Trust, Terasaki Family Foundation, Advanced Fresh Concepts, Hawai‘i Air Cargo Inc., Ronald Yoshino, Patti Hirahara and Terry K. Takeda, Mary Hirahara, Tom Hoshiyama and Dr. Himeo Tsumori.

The museum, located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, is open daily except Dec. 25, between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. The doors of the museum are always open online and the virtual museum continues to expand its offerings, including online exhibitions, PK-12 educational materials and programs. The public can follow the museum on social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For more information, go to For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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