From left: Briana Tamaki, Preciosa Tamaki, Esumi Fujimoto, Shirley Au, Wallace Au, Joyce Kikuchi Sumi, Stan Sumi, Patti Hirahara, and Lon Inaba. Not pictured: Blaine Tamaki, Karen Yamashita Lee, and Yakima Valley Museum Director Emeritus and Archivist John Baule. (Photo by Heath Lambe)

YAKIMA, Wash. — Descendants of the Yakima Japanese American community gathered on Aug. 24 to witness the historic dedication of a new permanent exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow: The Japanese Experience in the Yakima Valley,” at the Yakima Valley Museum.

Of the 160 people who were in attendance, many were descendants from families that lived in Washington’s Yakima Valley before and after World War II.

The attendance surpassed the first grand opening on Oct. 2, 2010. The initial exhibit of the “Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” was one of the museum’s most popular exhibitions and won a Washington State Museum award during its 10-year run.

The Japanese pioneers came to the Yakima Valley in the late 19th century and grew to a Japanese community of 1,018 people involved in farming and providing services and lodging for the Yakima Valley community.

After the war, only 10% of the Japanese American community returned, and now their story will be permanently told at the Yakima Valley Museum for future generations.

Anaheim’s Patti Hirahara is recognized in the exhibit’s special acknowledgements. The museum stated, “We are especially grateful to Patti Hirahara, the driving force behind the exhibits, for her expertise, her family’s photographs and artifacts, and her financial contributions.”

She has worked since December 2008 to make this permanent exhibit a reality.

Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $5 for children ages 6 to 18, free for members and for children 5 and under, $18 for families.                                      

The museum is located at 2105 Tieton Dr., Yakima, WA 98902. For more information, call (509) 248-0747, email or visit                             

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *