FORMER MANZANAR INTERNEE Arnold Maeda attends a Venice ceremony, on the 70th anniversary of when Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes. A fundraiser for the planned memorial marker will take place Thursday, April 25.

FORMER MANZANAR INTERNEE Arnold Maeda attends a Venice ceremony, on the 70th anniversary of when Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes. A fundraiser for the planned memorial marker will take place Thursday, April 25.

A fundraiser for a planned memorial marker identifying the Venice location from where Japanese-Americans departed for internment camps during World War II will be held at Hama Sushi in Venice Thursday, April 25.
The event will take place on the 71st anniversary of the forced removal of some 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living on the Westside of Los Angeles who boarded buses at 933 Venice Blvd. in Venice to be transported to the Manzanar internment camp for the remainder of World War II.
Given just days’ notice and limited to bring only what they could carry, they were among thousands of other West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry who were required to be sent to war relocation camps under an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Venice Japanese-American Memorial Marker Committee has led an initiative to erect an obelisk at the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards to mark the site where American citizens were forced to leave their homes. The committee, comprised of former internees and concerned citizens, chose to model the marker after the 15-foot obelisk that stands in the center of the Manzanar Cemetery.
The fundraiser at Hama Sushi, 213 Windward Ave. in Venice, will offer bento box lunches, including chicken teriyaki, cucumber and potato salads, spicy tuna and California rolls, shrimp and vegetable tempura, plus a bottle of water or a soft drink, for $20 each. Esther Chaing, proprietor of Hama, said she will donate 100 percent of the bento box lunch profits to memorial marker committee, as well as 10 percent of the dinner proceeds that evening, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
“I am a U. S. citizen running a Japanese restaurant, and I just want to give back to the Venice community, which has been so good to me,” said Chaing. “This is so important, to remember our history so that the same mistakes will not happen again.”
The memorial marker committee has raised over $80,000 to build and install the black granite obelisk. Hundreds of donations have ranged from $10 to $1,000.
Most recently in February, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s office donated $5,000 towards the project. In March 2012, the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites program awarded a two to one $50,000 matching grant, and Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office has donated $5,000.
In 2011, the memorial committee raised $10,000 at its benefit at Beyond Baroque, and the Venice Neighborhood Council has awarded the project $1,300 in community improvement project funds. Donors of $5,000 or more will be permanently etched into the granite of the memorial marker.
The April 25 fundraiser will kick off with a short program at 11 a.m., and pre-ordered bento box lunches may be eaten in or taken out from noon to 2 p.m.
Information, www.venicejamm.com.

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