Japanese Families Reunite in the Yakima Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Japanese Families Reunite in the Yakima Valley

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YAKIMA, Wash.--It was an emotional day for many in the Yakima Valley. For the first time since 1973, Japanese families reunited in the community they used to call their home.

The Yakima Valley Museum is holding a big reunion this weekend and showing off their award winning exhibit called "Land Of Joy And Sorrow"- Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley.

Coordinators said over 1,000 Japanese immigrants moved from Japan to the Yakima Valley from the 1800s to the 1940s, many of them becoming farmers.

However,  their lives changed drastically during World War II when they were all relocated to a camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

For one woman, the exhibit provides a glimpse into her late husband's past.

"Provided us with many pictures that we didn't even know we had, put them in an album and I gave them to my brother in law and I kept some of them," said Chonita Uyehara. "Of course this is my daughter so it's emotional because for my husband not to have been here."

Coordinators said only 10 percent of the Japanese immigrants returned to the valley after the war. But almost 200 people are at the reunion this weekend learning about their loved ones and their deep roots in the Yakima Valley.

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