February 19 marks the 71st anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor and leading to the forced removal and internment of some 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
During the early 1960s, it was members of the Chicago Japanese American community, many of whom had been internees and relocated here from the West Coast, who first brought Aikido to Chicago and founded the Illinois Aikido Club (the first Aikido dojo East of the Mississippi). In turn, it was the Illinois Aikido Club that led to the genesis of the Chicago Aikido Club, Chicago Aikikai, the Midwest Aikido Center, and many other Aikido dojo in the area today.
Although most of the issei and nisei (first and second generation Japanese Americans) who introduced Aikido to the city have moved on, CAC takes this moment to acknowledge and remember their struggles during this unfortunate period in U.S. history.
On Sunday, February 17, a Day of Remembrance event will be held at the Chicago History Museum (1601 North Clark Street) from 2:00pm-4:00pm. This will include recently discovered material on the Kooskia Internment Camp in Idaho. This event is sponsored by our hosts, the Japanese American Service Committee, as well as the Chicago Japanese American Council, the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, the Japanese American Citizens League – Chicago Chapter, and the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago. The program is free and open to the public. For further information, see www.jasc-chicago.org, or call 773.275.0097, ext. 222.