2016 / Go For Broke National Education Center opens “Defining Courage” in Little Tokyo

Groundbreaking “Defining Courage” exhibition is now opened at the newly installed Go For Broke National Education Center in Little Tokyo.

“Defining Courage” exhibition is held at the Go For Broke National Education Center in Little Tokyo. (Courtesy of GFBNEC)


Courage Corner: Updates on the Exhibition

(Source: April 2017 e Torch)

Thanks to a generous grant from the Aratani Foundation, Go For Broke National Education Center’s “Defining Courage” exhibition continues to be FREE on select dates to the general public. Tell your friends!

NOTE: Teachers and Students are FREE on all open exhibit dates until the end of April 2017!

Upcoming free days are:

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017
  • Saturday, May 13, 2017
  • Thursday, May 18, 2017
  • Saturday, June 10, 2017
  • Thursday, June 15, 2017


Go For Broke National Education Center will debut its new facilities and groundbreaking Defining Courage exhibition on Saturday, May 28, 2016, with a Ribbon Cutting and Homecoming Festival in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles.

The Defining Courage exhibition will feature free timed-entry during the Homecoming Festival. Exhibition admittance is limited and early reservations are recommended at www.GoForBroke.org.

Since its formation in 1989, Go For Broke National Education Center has been committed to educating the public about the responsibilities, challenges, and rights of American citizenship by using the life stories of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II.

In order to share these stories, they began video recording the oral histories of Japanese American veterans, and today they have the largest collection of its kind in the country.

The interviews have been incorporated into a complete curriculum with lesson plans and web-based project learning to share their story with youth across the country.

In 1999, the center dedicated the Go For Broke Monument in the Little Tokyo District of Los Angeles.

On the monument are the insignias of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion.

Go For Broke National Education Center is housed in former Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple building built in 1925. The temple building was once among the largest and most influential Buddhist Temples in the U. S.

At the time, Little Tokyo was home to more than 30,000 Japanese Americans.  However, with the beginning of World War II, the community was changed. In 1942, the neighborhood’s Japanese Americans were forced to leave.  They were assembled outside the temple building, where government buses took them to incarceration camps.

Defining Courage exhibition is divided into eight sections: Pearl Harbor Aftermath, Lives Left Behind, History Revisited, Piece It Together, Propaganda Deconstructed, Media Maker, Woven Thoughts, Courage, and Passing the Torch.

The exhibition is designed to illustrate the difficult decisions Japanese Americans were forced to make, and prompts visitors to explore what their decisions might be in similar circumstances.

Propaganda Deconstructed: Visitors learn how stories, images, and videos are often edited to change the meaning.  On a large touch-screen, visitors experiment with cropping modern images in order to express differing messages.

Media Maker: This section lets visitors create their own mini-documentary films about the Japanese American World War II experience and its relevance to today.  This computer-based activity provides visitors an opportunity to create a short film using drag and drop technology.

Courage: World War II stories often focus on the battlefield.  However, courage is manifested in many ways, and some of the most important can happen anywhere, and at any time.

Go For Broke National Education Center is located at 355 East First Street, Suite 200 in Los Angeles, CA 90012. Closed Mondays. Open late every Thursday. For additional information, visit www.GoForBroke.org.