Imperial Couple visit internment exhibit

Kyodo

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited a museum in Tokyo on Thursday to view an exhibition of artifacts and everyday objects created by Japanese-Americans during World War II at their internment camps in the United States.

The exhibit, at the University Art Museum of Tokyo University of the Arts, came as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the forced internment in which around 120,000 Japanese-Americans were put into camps by the U.S. government following the outbreak of World War II.

As the Emperor looked at furniture made at the camps, including chairs and wardrobes, he asked attendants if the people who created the furniture made the tools they used as well.

The Empress appeared moved when she saw a 1,000-stitch belt, a piece of cloth with stitches sewn by a number of women given as a talisman for Japanese-Americans who joined the U.S. military as they headed to war.

The custom of giving such belts to departing soldiers was once widespread in Japan, and the Empress said she had made some herself.