Japanese American Internment


At the end of December 2018 I started working on a new project documenting the survivors of Executive Order 9066. This is when the American government locked up over 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent after the attacks on Pearl Harbor during WWII. In these past few months, I’ve sat with several of these people as they have shared their stories with me, and I’m very excited to share them with you. As part of this project I’ve asked all that are participating to write about their experiences in the camps and how that shaped their sense of belonging and identifying themselves within a journal that I have especially for this project.

Last month I had the pleasure of photographing Paul Imahara at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Downtown LA. Paul was 3 when he and his family were evacuated from their home and forced into the camp. For him, he doesn’t recall as much as some of the others I’ve worked with on this project being he was so young. When we shot, he spoke more to me about Buddhism and what it means to him. He has been a Buddhist Minister for quite sometime. I’m looking forward to sitting down with him again soon to see what he adds to the journal.

Here are a couple of images from this shoot.

Keep an eye out for more stories and images to follow. You can always see what I’m up to via Instagram as well at @matthewscottgranger


For a long time, I’ve wanted to work on a project in some sort of form about the Japanese-American Internment during WWII. Over the past 3 years I’ve been working on the idea of how I could do this. Since I moved to LA a few months ago, I’ve been thinking about how I could make this project be impactful, intriguing, and give the people who were affected by this atrocity a voice, and to put a face with their story.

The most challenging part of this project is to find people that are still alive that were in these concentration camps and willing to share their stories and be photographed. There are many who would rather not relive the pain and haven’t even shared their experiences with their kids. I was fortunate enough to meet a couple, Yukio and Kiko Matsumoto, who in conversation had brought up the fact that they had both been in the camps while they were very young and met shortly in Chicago after being released. I immediately told them about this project and asked if they would be interested in being a part of it. Thankfully, they were on board.

I can’t wait to share some of the images soon. You can see the final image from these behind the scenes photos on Instagram @matthewscottgranger

Feel free to reach out or leave a comment below if you’d like to hear more or have any questions about this project.