Who We Are

The JACL Detroit Chapter is a cultural hub for the Japanese American community based in metro Detroit. We organize and support programming related to Japanese and Japanese  American culture in Michigan, in order to connect with each other, to connect with our history, and to connect with other Asian and ethnic American communities.
Our history is rooted in World War II, when the United States federal government incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese Americans living in the West. Some of those incarcerated were allowed to leave the camps and resettle in Midwestern cities. Detroit was one such destination.

Though resettlement was intended to prevent the formation of new ethnic enclaves and the experience of incarceration dealt a traumatic blow to the Japanese American community’s willingness to express our cultural heritage, the JACL Detroit Chapter has been committed to aiding and celebrating Japanese American community in Michigan since 1946.

We are here for you! To learn more about what we do, contact us or join now to become a part of JACL Detroit.

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What We Do



Exiled to Motown

Exiled to Motown


Order Your Copy Today!

Exiled to Motown is a paperback of approximately 300 pages. Its unique page dimensions allow for clear, legible text and large-format display of key quotations and photographs. It includes a history of the JACL Detroit Chapter and other institutions critical to Japanese American community in Detroit, as well as archival photographs and exclusive interviews illuminating life in Detroit for Japanese Americans.

Books are $20 + $4 shipping and handling.

If you are interested in placing an order, please
contact the JACL Detroit Chapter.


Traveling Exhibit – 2019

In 2019, the JACL Detroit Chapter created a traveling exhibit dedicated to telling the story of Japanese Americans in Detroit. From Ford’s first employee of Japanese descent to Japanese American resettlement in the Midwest following federal incarceration during World War II, the history of Japanese America in Motown is rich and occurs in often unexpected places.

In 2019, the exhibit will visit Ann Arbor, Novi, and the JACL National Convention in Salt Lake City. In 2020, it will return to Michigan for exhibitions in Detroit. This exhibit was produced as part of the 2018-19 JACL Legacy Grant program.

Visit the Exiled to Motown webpage for more information!



Are you a student entering or currently attending an accredited program at a college, university, trade school, business school, or any other institution of higher learning? You could be eligible for a scholarship from the JACL Detroit Chapter!

Since the 1950s, the JACL Detroit Chapter has supported students seeking to advance their education and broaden their horizons. We recognize that a solid education can be critical to personal enrichment, financial security, cultural awareness, and community resilience. We are committed to aiding students in their academic journeys by offering scholarships to offset the costs of education.

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Becoming a member of the  JACL Detroit Chapter is one way you can express your support for civil rights, Japanese American heritage, and community togetherness in metro Detroit. A significant portion of JACL’s funding comes from membership dues, which means that becoming a member can have a generous impact on the programs JACL is able to offer. Your membership matters!

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