Two Islanders Reflect on History of Japanese American Exclusion (w/ podcast)

Posted by on August 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

At the end of May Congressman Derek Kilmer introduced a bill in the House to recognize a new name for the Bainbridge Island memorial to the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forced from their homes to concentration camps during the Second World War, one that acknowledges their exclusion from mainstream American society. If passed, the name will be changed to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

Clarence Moriwaki, President of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association, explained the reason for the change: “The word exclusion is so vital to completely tell this sad chapter of American history, because not only were 120,000 Japanese Americans forcibly removed and placed behind barbed wire in American concentration camps, but anyone with a drop of blood of Japanese ancestry was forbidden to remain in the exclusion zone. We should remember and honor everyone who suffered from this unconstitutional violation of civil liberties, and vow to never let fear, hysteria and prejudice deprive anyone of life, liberty and equal protection under the law.”

In the following two Bainbridge Community Broadcasting podcasts, Islander Lilly Kodama remembers the exclusion of her family and talks about her brother, Dr. Frank Kitamoto, a 2002 recipient of the distinguished “Island Treasure” award, and Donna Harui, the third-generation owner of Bainbridge Gardens, talks about her family, including about their experiences of relocation during the war years.

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Photo of Bainbridge Island Japanese Exclusion Memorial by Sarah Lane.

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One Response to “Two Islanders Reflect on History of Japanese American Exclusion (w/ podcast)”

  1. Salish Sailor says:

    As Clarence stated "We should remember and honor everyone who suffered from this unconstitutional violation of civil liberties, and vow to never let fear, hysteria and prejudice deprive anyone of life, liberty and equal protection under the law."

    This is so true in light of what our nation has witnessed this week in Ferguson. Obviously we sadly still have lessons to learn.

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