Parks and Recreation Image

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Archived Exhibit

The Empty Chair - The Forced Removal and Resettlement of Juneau’s Japanese Community, 1941-1951

June 2014

City Cafe Interior with Tanaka Family, 1938. Photograph provided by Mary (Tanaka) Abo and Alice (Tanaka) Hikido.

This exhibit tells the stories of the Japanese who were evacuated from Juneau during World War II and those who settled here afterwards. The “Empty Chair” refers to a seat left unfilled at the June, 1942 Juneau High School graduation ceremony representing the absence of valedictorian John Tanaka whose was relocated with his family in April of that year. Also on display are collages by Juneau artist Fumi Matsumoto which capture the memory of the internment camps, and a video of Juneau during 1941-1955 created by Juneau filmmaker, Greg Chaney. The exhibit was mounted in conjunction with the installation of the Empty Chair Memorial in Capital Park. An opening reception at the Museum will occur on July 12, from 12-5, concurrent with the dedication of that memorial. For more information about the Empty Chair Memorial visit

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