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“The way it was”: History of Portland’s Japantown kept alive

“The way it was”: History of Portland’s Japantown kept alive

KOIN, May 4, 2022

"The way it was": History of Portland's Japantown kept alive

For several decades, Portland once had a thriving Japantown.

That neighborhood was nearly erased, however, when Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps. Now, the goal of a new project looks to preserve their memory by showing the full history.

“It’s everybody’s history,” said Chisao Hata with the Japanese American Museum of Oregon. “It’s all of our history, and so it’s part of Portland’s history. And we want it to be in the forefront into everybody’s awareness.”

Hata, who serves as the creative director of the museum’s living arts program, is also looking forward as she reflects on the past.

There’s a lot to see and learn, and she wants you to know even more.

“It’s about place and having a place and losing a place and having a — feeling like you’re being erased,” Hata said. “So it’s time that we stand up and lift up those stories. We’ve had to fight for some of the buildings.”