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Talk on Wartime Hostage Exchange

Greater Los Angeles JACL will present a talk on “Gripsholm Exchanges: Exchange of Hostages During World War II Between the U.S. and Japan” by Atsushi “Archie” Miyamoto on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. at Merit Park Recreation Hall, 58 Merit Park Dr. (off 158th Street) in Gardena.

Archie Miyamoto

Archie Miyamoto

According to Densho, the M.S. Gripsholm was a Swedish cruise ship chartered by the U.S. government to transport civilians and POWs caught behind enemy lines. Between 1942 and 1946, the “Mercy Ship” participated in a dozen exchanges between the U.S. and the Axis nations, Germany, Italy and Japan.

There were only two exchanges of civilians with Japan in June 1942 and September 1943, involving approximately 3,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry, some of whom were seized in Latin America and brought to the U.S. before being sent to Japan. Miyamoto was a teenager when he and his family were part of the second exchange.

In January 1997, Miyamoto gave a presentation to the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California on his and his family’s experience. A revised version of the presentation will be read at the GLA JACL program. He will also take questions.

All are welcome. For information, call Louise at (310) 327-3169.

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