The JASC Legacy Center is constantly working to make digital content available for anybody to use at anytime, from anywhere in the world. From digitized photographs and documents to oral history interviews and even digitized motion picture film, we hold a wealth of fascinating material that helps to deepen our collective knowledge about the Japanese American experience in Chicago. Here is a sampling of our favorites for you to enjoy:
Created in 2019 by Anna Takada and Maria Pimentel, this half hour documentary explores the topics of WWII incarceration and postwar resettlement in Chicago through a blend of archival footage and oral history interviews with three generations of Japanese Americans. Resettled Roots incorporates many of the interviews from JASC’s Untold Stories oral history project and highlights the challenges faced by Japanese Americans as they rebuilt their lives after being unjustly incarcerated.
Issei Gerontology Project films
These four films were produced by JASC in 1975 as part of the Issei Gerontology Project, which focused on the needs of Chicago’s aging population of Issei, or first generation Japanese immigrants. The original 16mm films were preserved for decades in the JASC archives and digitized with grant funding and community support in 2019. They offer a rare opportunity to see and hear Issei speaking about their experiences, and also offer a glimpse into the programs and services of JASC in the mid-1970s.
Social Service: Seeking a Human Dimension
Issei: A Quality for Survival
Issei: A Final Say
Values and Attitudes II
JASC Oral History Collection
The JASC Legacy Center has many oral history interviews, some of which came to us as part of archival collections and some of which have been recorded by JASC as part of special projects at different points in time. Not all of these interviews are available online, but we are in the process of building our digital oral history collection and you can currently view almost sixty interviews recorded between 2017 and 2021. The digital collection also features full transcriptions of each interview, which allows for keyword searching across the entire collection. Click here to access the oral history collection.
The Chicago Shimpo began publication in 1945 and continues to the present day. This newspaper served as a vital source of information for Japanese Americans as they resettled in Chicago after being released from the incarceration camps. Today, it provides a window into the community’s growth and change, and is a vital source of information about events of the past. The JASC Legacy Center makes available digital copies of the Chicago Shimpo from 1945-1984. These digital images were scanned from microfilm and have not been through an optical character recognition process, so there is no way to search electronically for specific words or phrases. Luckily, the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University has a full-text searchable database of Japanese diaspora newspapers that includes the Chicago Shimpo for the years 1945-1952.
JASC Legacy Center’s Chicago Shimpo Collection – in the “Collection Organization” sidebar, click to expand the “Microfilm, 1945-1984” series, and then select the year that you wish to view.
Digitized Archival Photographs
The JASC Legacy Center’s archival holdings include thousands of photographs, many of which have been digitized. We are currently migrating from one collection management system to another, and hope to restore access to these incredible images in the near future. As the migration proceeds, you will be able to access the images via the new platform for our archives here.
Visit our Exhibits page for a list of exhibits past and present, most of which are viewable online!