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Celebrating Vashon’s Japanese and agrarian heritage

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The Japanese Presence Project

We are winding down the 2014-2015 4Culture grant for the Japanese Presence Project given to FOM in 2014.  Our final report will review the progress we have made over this 18 month period.  Our sincere thanks to 4Culture for their support of our efforts.


Alice Larson and Bruce Haulman will be meeting with Susan Reimer of the Beachcomber before the end of the year to tell her more about the Project, what we have accomplished, and our plans for the future.  It is hoped she might publish an article to coincide with the Day of Remembrance, Feb. 19, commemorating the date in 1942 President Roosevelt signed the exclusion order giving authorization to imprison west coast Japanese Americans during World War II.


Our Japanese Presence Advisory Group has expanded to 11 members including 5 individuals who were either themselves confined in camps during the War or had family members faced with such hardships.  All of these members except one represent a Vashon Japanese family removed from the Island in 1942.  The other individual, Joe Okimoto, came to the Island later but with his own stories of being removed from his California home and imprisoned with his family.


We are searching for a copy of the Japanese Exclusion Order posted on Vashon Island in 1942.  Our Advisory Group member David Perley has found mention of this in an interview conducted by the Densho Archives with Eddie Owada, formerly of Vashon Island who was evacuated from here in 1942.  We plan to contact Mr. Owada to see if we can obtain a copy for our growing archives.

Vashon Island Japanese Presence Advisory Group:  The 11 person Vashon Island Japanese Presence Advisory Group is composed of four members who represent historic Vashon Japanese families (Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, Miyoko Matsuda, Laura Nishiyori, and David Perley); Joe Okimoto who was imprisoned at the  Poston War Relocation Center and has researched his family’s confinement history; Ann Irish, Ph.D., author of Hokkaido (2009); Tom Spring, Vashon Land Trust board member – an organization working toward preservation of an historic Island Japanese-owned farm; and Jenny McMurdo, genealogy researcher. Team members Haulman, Larson, and Wall are also members of the Advisory Group.

 

 

 

 

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