Early this June, a school board committee in Muskego-Norway, Wisconsin overruled the school decision to buy sixty copies of the 2002 award-winning novel When the Emperor Was Divine about the Japanese American incarceration by Julie Otsuka.

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Media reports cited concerns about “balance” in the interpretation of the incarceration.

One board member proposed that the school curriculum should include the 1937 Nanjing massacre in the Republic of China by the Imperial Japanese troops as a possible reason for the incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent.

Multiple U.S. government reports, scholarly books and articles conclude that the reasons for their incarceration were racism, war hysteria, and failure of political leadership.

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation operates a museum on the historic site where some 14,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 through 1945.

According to a press release from the foundation, they are extending a formal invitation to members of the Muskego-Norway School Board of Wisconsin to visit the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center to meet with staff and descendants of the incarceration.

Aura Sunada Newlin, a descendant of Heart Mountain incarcerates, and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation’s Interim Executive Director said, “We are sincere in our hope that the Muskego-Norway School Board members will come to our site, where they can experience the power of place and engage in dialogue about what happened here, how it happened, and why.”

“We pride ourselves in creating a safe and enriching space for such conversations to unfold.”

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