Japanese Language School Memorial

University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma, WA


Built in 1922, the Japanese Language School, known as Nihongo Gakko, was an important Japanese American community space in Tacoma. Children of this community would study the language and culture after their regular studies at public school.

Memorial Courtyard and Plaque Layout

  • Client :University of Washington Tacoma
  • Landscape Architect:Nakano Associates
  • Artist:Gerard Tsutakawa

Following World War II, the building remained vacant until 2004 when it was demolished as it had deteriorated beyond repair. The University of Washington has commemorated the history of Tacoma’s Japanese American community with a memorial for the Japanese Language School and its former students.


The memorial courtyard is sited along the Prairie Line Trail which bisects the campus. A beautiful bronze sculpture, Maru, by Gerard Tsutakawa is positioned amongst plaques set in stone.


Red and orange hues of nearby maple trees are picked up in the patina of the sculpture.


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