Collection, Japanese American

Butsudan (Buddhist altar), 1942–45

Butsudan (Buddhist altar), 1942–45

Made in a Japanese American prison camp [War Relocation Authority] in Poston, Arizona, during World War II, this butsudan (Buddhist altar) provided a comforting connection to faith in a time of crisis.

The altar was handcrafted from scrap wood and used by the Murata family behind barbed wire during World War II and later in their home until 2006.

Gift of Ms. Alice Murata. Photo by Smithsonian National Museum of American History Archives.

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