The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center will host Unsettled/Resettled: Seattle’s Hunt Hotel. This nationally traveling exhibit by the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington will be on display from July 7 to September 25, 2016 before heading to Los Angeles.
Of the over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II, thousands returned homeless and jobless to their former communities in the Seattle area. Unsettled/Resettled recalls the resettlement experience of the families and individuals who found lodging at the Seattle Japanese Language School from 1945 until 1959, when it operated as a temporary hostel.
Developed by the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, Unsettled/Resettled is a result of over a decade of research. Starting with a handful of former residents living in the Seattle area, the JCCCW began to reach out to individuals and families they had reason to believe had once lived at the Language School. And the more they asked, the larger the resident list grew.
Local leader and community figurehead Kenji Mihara established and managed the facility, calling it the “Hunt Hotel” as most residents were returning from the Minidoka Incarceration Camp in Hunt, Idaho. Within the walls of the historic buildings at 1414 S. Weller Street, over thirty families began to rebuild their lives in the wake of WWII. In the words of a former Hunt Hotel resident Louise Matsumoto, “We had just come back from camp when we didn’t have anything … no jobs, just the $25.”
The Unsettled/Resettled story seeks to shed light on the experiences of Seattle Japanese and Japanese Americans during resettlement and raise awareness of the long-lasting consequences of Executive Order 9066, one of the most unjust and unconstitutional acts of government in American history. Visitors can learn more about this lost chapter of Pacific Northwest history through interviews, archival footage, photographs, and original artworks by Aki Sogabe.