Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) Legacy Center

JASC Executive Director Masaru Nambu, Board President Lillian Kimura, and Board Secretary Diane Kayano front of the "History of the Japanese Americans" mural on the exterior of JASC's building at 4427 N Clark St, 1973, folder 15, box 17, in Record GrouThe JASC Legacy Center is a community-based library and archives with collections that reflect the Japanese American experience in Chicago and the Midwest. Founded in 1999, the Legacy Center’s mission is to preserve and promote community heritage and common understanding of Japanese American history as an integral part of American history. The Legacy Center is located within the Japanese American Service Committee, a 501(c)3 nonprofit social service organization that was founded in 1946 to assist Japanese Americans as they resettled in Chicago after being incarcerated during World War II.

Chicago’s Japanese population prior to WWII was fewer than 400 people. After the war, the population ballooned to approximately 20,000; a direct result of the forced removal and incarceration of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast during the war. The JASC Legacy Center’s collections document the history of Chicago’s Japanese American community, including topics such as immigration, incarceration, resettlement, religious life, community organizations, and social life.

Currently, the Legacy Center's archival holdings total approximately 850 linear feet and include documents, photographs, personal correspondence, journals/diaries, scrapbooks, audiovisual recordings, and artifacts. The archives also holds JASC’s institutional records. The library collection holds approximately 800 volumes of published material on topics relevant to the Legacy Center’s mission.

The Legacy Center is open to researchers by appointment, and any member of the public is welcome to use the collections on-site. To request a research appointment, please email legacy@jasc-chicago.org.