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The Tag Project Volunteers

The recreation of the Tags could not have happened without the thousands of volunteers that were enlisted across the country.  In addition to hundreds of volunteers who filled out tags at their homes, we hosted several “events” where people can work together to work on the tags.  The events were held at camp pilgrimages, high school history classes, college art schools, museums and galleries, churches, temples, and events supported by the JACL or JA Historical organizations.

Minidoka Pilgrimage – June 26-28 2009

The Tag Project was at the Minidoka Pilgrimage, June 26-28 2009, thanks to Roger Shimomura, who had the daunting task of hauling my tags to the pilgrimage from Kansas, printing and delegating names to volunteers, stamping tags… 

“…I got 4 hours of sleep each night of the pilgrimage working on this but still attended all the mandatory sessions. 3 of us sacrificed the social event to stamp, stamp, stamp. Everyone….was extremely supportive of your project and hoped that they would be informed of its eventual future….”

Thank you, Roger for overseeing this, and thank you to all at Minidoka who helped!! Roger was going to send me names of the new volunteers, and I will be posting this to this website as soon as possible!!

Roger Shimomura’s work has inspired me for a long time. He is one of few contemporary Japanese American artists who have embraced the pain of internment. I am deeply honored to have Roger’s help in this project.

Tule Lake Pilgrimage – July 3-5 2009

4000 TAGS FROM TULE LAKE WERE COMPLETED AT THE PILGRIMAGE! Many thanks to Yuki Mathias for rounding all these materials up and taking them to the pilgrimage and bringing them back and shipping to me despite such a busy schedule!!   She and Keiko Kubo manned a table there with fliers, tags, stamps and a Tule Lake database, with the help of Jun Hanamoto and Peter Yamamoto. Thank you to all who participated and I look forward to working further with your group!!

Pioneer Ocean View United Church, San Diego, CA – August 2, 2009

We had a wonderful tag event on Sunday at the Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ. The volunteers there completed 5,000 tags!!!!!  This included tying the ends of the tags, stamping the text, writing the names- with a few important volunteers organizing and categorizing the tags. The goal of 5,000 tags were reached!!

AND the chicken teriyaki bowls were really great!! Many thanks to the membership of POVUCC for hosting us and to the Fujinami family for planning and organizing the logistics there!

I am grateful for Coreen’s enthusiasm and help along with the support from my mother, Reiko Maruyama, and my aunt, Tae Udo.


Buddist Temple of San Diego – August 22, 2009

The Tag Project was co-hosted by the Buddhist Temple of San Diego and the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, and was a SMASHING success!!! 10,000 tags were completed, with about 4,000 tags sent home in kits!!

This could not have happened with the help of VERY organized folks like Linda Canada, Joyce Teague, Gwen Momita, and Valerie Abe, and so many others who helped as guides, runners, tyers, stampers!!

This was a potluck event, starting at 11:30 AM, and ended around 3 PM!! 


San Diego Japanese Christian Church – August 30, 2009

Another successful event!!  We finished at least 2,500 names from Amache, and all total prepared 4,000 tags!!! I am especially grateful because many people sacrificed the opportunity of watching the Little League team from Chula Vista win the championship, and many were from Chula Vista!!!

In addition to members of SDJCC, there were repeat volunteers from POVUCC and BTSD, as well as friends and family. There is quite a following of volunteers who have come to every event, and it is becoming more and more like a party. We also had some wonderful kids working to help with tags.

A photographic exhibit was on view, courtesy of the Japanese American Historical Society, San Diego, about WWII evacuation and internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as it affected San Diegans of Japanese ancestry.

Many thanks to Sharon Hayashi Kunugi and Jenny Higashi and the congregation at SDJCC for their enthusiasm and support!

Poway High School’s AVID Program – October 9, 2009 

The AVID  (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at Poway High School did a fabulous job of helping with The Tag Project on Friday, October 9, 2009!!! They finished writing 1400 names from the Manzanar database, plus stamped and tied about 2600 tags in preparation for the kits!!! That is a LOT of tags for a short time period!!

Many thanks to those who helped, and extra thanks to the teachers, Karen, Sherry and Megan, and of course a big hand for Linda Canada and Gwen Momita for leading the group!!

The Tag Project thanks Karen Kawasaki and her colleagues Sherry Lockie and Megan Ellsworth. Three  separate classes heard lectures by Linda Canada, from the San Diego Japanese American Historical Society and worked on The Tag Project! 

Ventura County JACL – March 1, 2010

I was invited to give a presentation to Ventura County’s JACL, during their yearly installation luncheon.  They were an enthusiastic, supportive and fabulous group of dedicated individuals!! They also made a donation to the Project, for which I am extremely grateful. Many thanks to Shig Yabu, who made the suggestion for the Tag Project to come visit this group. I was able to see the plans for a new Interpretive Center for Heart Mountain, and I look forward to seeing the Heart Mountain Tags being installed there someday.

The Smithsonian/Renwick Gallery, Washington DC – April 11, 2010

 The Tag Project event was a companion workshop in conjunction with the exhibition, “The Art of Gaman” by Delphine Hirasune. This is an exhibition of artworks and crafts made by the Japanese Americans while they were incarcerated in the ten various internment camps in 1942-1946.

Mira Nakashima (a former internee from Minidoka, and a well known furniture designer) and I gave lectures about our works on Saturday, April 10, and on April 11, our presentations focused on the Japanese American Internment. The Tag Project event followed the lecture where we had about 40 volunteers from the audience helping us.

For more information, go to www.jra.org/Get Involved/Maruyama.html.

Manzanar Pilgrimage – April 24, 2010

 The Tag Project set up shop in the Mess Hall at Manzanar, during the 41st Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday.  We filled out about 1500 tags from the Manzanar database, and got to meet some interesting people!!  The Florin JACL and Sacramento CAIR group filled out several pages of the database during their lunch break which was wonderful.

Special thanks go to Joe Virata, and his group, UCRiverside Asian Pacific Student Programs, and to Claudia Cardenas’s group from the Franklin High School Magnet in Los Angeles!! The enthusiasm and energy shown by these young people actually give me a tremendous amount of hope in that the remembrance of this terrible chapter in American History will continue and hopefully continue to educate. It is difficult though, considering the recent passage of the immigration law in Arizona this month, and the fact that Texas plans to “whitewash” their history books, altering the interpretation of Executive Order 9066 – “as the regulation of some foreign nationals”.

The weather was very beautiful, and it did get pretty hot – I was sweating like a pig in the mess hall, which gave me a preettttyyy good idea of what it must have been like to live there. I just can’t imagine how the internees did that for 4 years, and in the cold winter too???? Those walls were awfully thin.

I am grateful to Kerry Cababa and the Manzanar Committee for the invitation to participate this year, and to Park Superintendent Les Inafuku for helping me set up in the Mess Hall!

Kiku Gardens, Chula Vista, CA June 5, 2010

The Tag Project had a special “aging” session for the tags – we needed help taking the tags through an aging process (dunking in coffee and krinkling and setting out to dry).
About 40 people came out with rubber gloves, old newspapers, and plastic containers for dunking tags.  We thank the Kiku Gardens board for letting us use their convenient space!!


Tule Lake Pilgrimage – July 2-5, 2010

Thanks to one of my earliest volunteers, Yuki Mathias, The Tag Project returned to Tule Lake.  Since the tags for this camp was completed, the assembly was started during the pilgrimage.  They were also used during a dance performance by the Purple Moon Dance Project.

Art Produce Gallery, San Diego – July 7-18, 2010

Thanks to Lynn Susholtz, The Tag Project was “stationed” at Art Produce Gallery for almost two weeks.  Lynn offered the use of her gallery space for an ongoing event. We installed “Poston” and completed “Tule Lake” and “Gila River” during this time.  It was wonderful to have passers by stop in, help, chat, and become familiar with the project. 

Tag Aging Party – My house – September 26, 2010

On what was probably the hottest day in 2010, I had a pizza and beer party for my grad students, in exchange for their help in aging the tags.  We were falling behind on this process, and the weather was perfect for drying coffee-dunked tags.   Thanks to the incentive provided by Ron Chun, from the Bay Area, who donated the money for PIZZA!!

A MOUNTAIN of tags were completed that day!!

Thanks, Ron!!! Ron and his family (Cindy, Zachary and Catie) worked on tags earlier in the game – Cindy Tomooka’s family was interned at Poston.

Many thanks to Ron and his family for their endless support and enthusiasm!!


Poway High School – AVID Program – October 1, 2010

The Tag Project had a SECOND event at Poway High School’s AVID program.  Both Linda Canada and Lindsey Nitake worked VERY hard with large groups of 70 students with tags for Jerome. Linda showed a powerpoint show documenting the history of THE TAG PROJECT, and Lindsey talked about her involvement as a volunteer, and also spoke to students about college life and the importance of education beyond high school.

Many thanks again to Karen Kawasaki-Williams for her invitation to her class!

Tennessee Technological University – November 5, 2010

The Tag Project traveled to Cookeville, Tennessee at the invitation of Professors Kimberly Winkle and Graham Campbell. Kim teaches Art 1010 Two-Dimensional Design at Tennessee Tech, and Graham teaches Art 2910 Intro to Wood At TTU’s satellite campus, the Appalachian Center for Crafts.

They finished writing THE LAST of the tags from Topaz and Rohwer!!! And I mean, the LAST OF THE TAGS, period! Yes, the tags are all written for all ten camps, and we are still needing to stamp some numbers and age them but its a huge milestone for the Tag Project.

The folks in Tennessee were wonderful hosts, and I was fortunate to be there during such beautiful weather near Center Hill Lake!!

Many thanks to Kim and Graham for helping to make this happen!!





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