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Executive Order 9066, issued in 1942, began a nightmare for 120,000 West Coast Japanese Americans that echoes through the generations. Those deemed of “foreign enemy ancestry” were tagged with ID numbers and put on trains to internment camps. Wendy Maruyama, the daughter of second-generation Japanese Americans, began re-creating the ID tags but soon realized that her project required collaborative effort. She gathered people to replicate tags and share their stories. Church groups, galleries and advocacy organizations participated. The Tag Project is a traveling exhibition centered at the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego. It contains the names and replicated tags from the ten internment camps, plus footlockers, suitcases, barbed wire and photos that offer a visual witness to exile and loss.

 

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