Reflection: A Day at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting a beautiful place in Florida called the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. I enjoyed taking pictures of the beauty and scenery along their winding pathways, while having the parallel experience of learning more about Japanese culture. Some of this beauty is soon to come in a future post!

I know I have never used this blog as an arena to share photos. However, I was struck by this place intensely, in particular by a timely exhibition they have open for viewing, Wendy Maruyama’s, Executive Order 9066. Below are photos I took from the exhibit.

The hanging tags that seem infinite in what you see represent the number of Japanese people of the United States taken from their homes and forcibly placed in internment camps during World War II. You can read Wendy Maruyama’s outlook on her work below. Her explanation and her personal sources of inspiration are much more telling than anything I can write here.

I share this as a visual truth for a violated group of people, the sheer number who were taken and for nothing they had personally done wrong. Her work is a message and a lesson for us all to be cautious of the assumptions we make and to step forward against voices of bigotry and its resulting injustice, especially when the source of that bigotry is irrational fear. History, sadly and easily, repeats itself again and again and we look back in disbelief at the wrongs we have committed. We must believe we are now better than those who came before us and move forward as stewards for rational, humane and compassionate thinking.

Happy New Year to all and may we continue into this year and the future ones to come with hearts full of love and understanding. Kate

For anyone fortunate enough to be nearby this exhibition, more information can be found at this link.



11 thoughts on “Reflection: A Day at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

  1. AshiAkira says:

    I know at least partly about the terrible things Japan committed to other countries and people during the war. As one of about 100 million Japanese people, I feel 100 millionth part of the responsibility. I can’t argue against hatred and anger expressed by our neighboring people toward the atrocity. But I want them to understand, at least to try to understand, that almost all the Japanese people at that time were also victim of those small number of the people who sent the whole nation into the war. To take my share of the responsibility, I am doing my best to let the people who I think are doing nothing but resorting to wars today know how terrible thing a war is in making innocent people going through the extremity of suffering. I enjoyed your post here, and thank you very much. 🙂

    • Kate Houck says:

      Thank you sincerely for sharing your thoughts, AshiAkira. I am honored to hear from someone with background on this topic. You bring a perspective and an emotional connection I cannot get from most readers. As you said, war occurring as we speak (and in the past) is horrific and has the most devastating effects on innocent civilians who are themselves victims of the decisions of unjust rulers and imperial greed.

      I appreciate your voice of peace and reason. I pray this voice becomes stronger so the suffering from violence in this world will end.

  2. sheldonk2014 says:

    Great post Kate
    As long as we are not the ones being judge
    It’s ok
    We as humans are always looking for answers
    When we can not get them
    Then we have to find them somewhere
    Unfortunately it becomes a moving target
    People, place, or thing
    As always Sheldon

    • Kate Houck says:

      Hi Sheldon, You have truly summed up some of the weakest aspects of human behavior. Though we still have the strength and potential for reason. If the media and the leaders would convince us to use that instead of resorting to fear, I think we would have quite a different world. Thanks for sharing, Kate.

  3. JC says:

    Sooner or later it will be they put in one of these camps or even worse deny entry after knowing the atrocities I’m running from. Will we ever learn?

    • Kate Houck says:

      I wish there was an easy answer to opening people’s minds and educating the masses with accurate information and empathy. Instead, I just see hate and fear spreading. It is so sad.

  4. scottishmomus says:

    Fear debilitates sense. Internment happened here too I understand. Any citizen originally from nations not part of the allied forces was presumed a risk. The same patterns of behaviour – the same fears – are reproduced constantly. We never seem to learn. Displays such as this must go some way in raising awareness and thought. Maybe if enough people, and there are signs in this very forum of many who do, question conventional attitudes and perceived fears things may change for the better. We have to hope. Thank you for sharing this. It’s posts such as this that raise awareness and provide food for thought.
    Best wishes for this New Year.

    • Kate Houck says:

      Thank you for the words of hope and comfort. I am continuously inspired by the people within this forum speaking for change and justice. I am honored to have you as a reader! I hope your year is off to a positive, enlightening start 🙂

  5. Kate Houck says:

    Reblogged this on Kate Houck, Poems and commented:

    Though this exhibit was unforgettable, I don’t want it to be timely. This post, this artistic endeavor meant to reflect a time of shame in the dark folds of history has risen again like a white zombie. Do we ever learn from the evils of the past? Arrogance carrying us like a disease as we separate our existence in relation to others based on unfounded fears. The devil’s eyes can now sleep soundly.

    Look below at the countless tabs representing human lives. This was real. We did this. This has been proposed again as a cowardly means to degrade a group of innocent people who are not to blame for anything other than identifying with a misunderstood faith.

    My fellow citizens, now is the time to act. To anyone who has a heart left inside, refuse to let this happen again. My country, my shame, my hope, let me find trust again in your principles. Our hearts. Are they anywhere to be found.

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