Wartime internment: Japanese Americans’ bitter experiences were remembered with Valentine cards.

On February 13, at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, actor George Takei best known for “Star Trek” and “Heroes” and star of the Broadway bound musical “Allegiance”, surprised and presented Marge Wada, one of the last elderly survivors of the Japanese American internment camps in World War II with hundreds of Valentine’s cards sent by fans from all over the world.

Valentine’s Day recalls to many elderly Japanese Americans the bitterness of the February 19, 1942-Executive Order 9066 which set in motion the internment of 120,000 innocent citizens and permanent residents of the U.S.

Mr. Takei’s own experiences during this time were the inspiration behind the new musical “Allegiance”, in which he stars opposite Tony Award-winning-actress Lea Salonga.

“Allegiance”, which is set during World War II in the backdrop of the Japanese camps, is sponsoring the “Mob Marge” program along with the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, where Wada has been a volunteer for years, educating many on the history and injustice of the internment.

A special viral Facebook application was set into motion on February 7 on the page of “Allegiance” The Musical.  For every ten people who clicked to “join” the mob, personalized Valentine’s messages were generated. The Valentine cards which Mr. Takei handed to Wada on February 13 were created in that way.

“Mid-February has always been a sad time for our community, and each year there are fewer and fewer of us survivors around to tell first hand what happened.  We want our story to be remembered. In 1942, a whole set of American citizens lost everything-their homes, business and freedom–simply because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl harbor,” says Takei, who himself spent his childhood in two internment camps.

“It’s a terribly important, yet terribly overlooked, part of American history, and we hope that through gestures like these and awareness throughout the world, such a thing can never, ever happen again.”