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Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

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

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.

Posted in Community, Culture, Don't Miss This 1, History, OrganizationsComments (1)

70th Anniversary of Japanese American Internment Commemorated March 30

A dozen local community organizations and businesses are helping Bainbridge Island remember one of the hardest parts of its history: the forced relocation of its Japanese and Japanese American citizens to internment camps in other states. March 30, the 70th anniversary of the Japanese American Internment, is being called “A Day of History, Honor, and Healing.”

The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association, the host of the commemoration, is describing the goal of the day as not only to commemorate those who were exiled but also to celebrate “the unique legacy of a community that stood by their Japanese American friends and neighbors and welcomed them home.” Nine events around the Island and tours will highlight the history of the event and the legacy of Japanese Americans:

1. Film festival
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The Historic Lynwood Theatre, 4569 Lynwood Center Road

The new documentary Manzanar Fishing Club will be screened and Los Angeles director/producer Richard Imamura will host. Six locally produced documentaries—The Red Pines, Visible Target, Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol, My Friends Behind Barbed Wire, Japanese and Filipino Americans on Bainbridge Island, and Honor and Sacrifice—Nisei Patriots and the MIS—will also be shown.

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

2. Tours of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
4192 Eagle Harbor Drive

Read about the memorial here.

3. Self-Guided Tours of Harui Memorial Gardens
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Bainbridge Gardens, 9415 Miller Road NE

4. Free admission to the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
215 Ericksen Ave NE

The museum will be featuring the award-winning “Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar” and “Kodomo No Tame Ni—for the Sake of the Children” exhibits and the “Yama and Nayaga” Japanese mill worker communities exhibit.

5. Self-Guided Tours of the Haiku Garden
1-5:30 p.m.
Bainbridge Public Library, 1270 Madison Avenue N

6. Tour of the Historic Suyematsu Strawberry Farm
1:30-2:30 p.m.
8989 Day Road E

This event is hosted by the Only What We Can Carry Project and the Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farms.

Nidoto Nai Yoni7. Presentation on the History of Bainbridge Gardens
3:30-4:30 p.m.
9415 Miller Road NE

Donna Harui, the daughter of the founders of Bainbridge Gardens, will talk about the history of this Island landmark.

8. Open House and Tours of Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School
5:30-6:30 p.m.
9343 Sportsman Club Road

Visitors will view historical displays, artifacts, and models of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial as well as the award-winning “Kodomo No Tame Ni—for the Sake of the Children” historical exhibit.

9. Screening of the Award-Winning Documentary Conscience and the Constitution
6:30–8:30 p.m.
9343 Sportsman Club Road

The film screening will be followed up by discussion with producer/writer Frank Abe, UW Japanese American historian Dr. Tetsuden Kashima, and Bainbridge Island Japanese American incarceration survivors.

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Programs listing full event details and “passport tags” will be available at each of the nine event/tour sites as well as at the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council. Visitors will have their passports stamped at each site. At the final event of the evening, passport holders with at least six stamps will be eligible for a drawing of Mary Woodward’s Defending our Neighbors: The Walt and Milly Woodward Story or a signed DVD copy of the documentary Conscience and the Constitution.

A website providing virtual accessibility to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial and designed for use with smartphones and other mobile devices will debut on the 30th. The site will feature brief interviews with Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans sharing their personal stories.

Full information and event details can be found at www.bainbridgememorial.org or www.bijac.org.

Evacuation photo by Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Bainbridge Island, Wash. March 30, 1942: Evacuation Day” [photo from Executive Order 9066: The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans]. Other photos by Sarah Lane.



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