When the United States government announced in 1942 that it intended to remove all Japanese Americans from the West Coast, the community on Bainbridge Island was quickly targeted. In less than a week, more than 2,000 people were forcibly removed from their homes, and were herded into hastily built internment camps. More than 120 Bainbridge Islanders were incarcerated at the camp on Bainbridge Island, known as Camp Harmony.
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial honors the memory of those who were unjustly imprisoned and traces the history of Japanese Americans in America from pre-war to post-9/11 eras. Visitors can learn about the internment experience through interactive exhibits, listen to historical speeches, and read personal narratives. The memorial is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
What is the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial?
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is a memorial located on the island of Bainbridge, Washington near Annapolis, that commemorates the Japanese American residents who were forcibly removed from the island during World War II. The memorial consists of a bronze statue of an internment camp guard and a granite plaque that reads: “This is a place where we remember those who were forced from their homes and lost their dignity in concentration camps.” The memorial was dedicated in 1988 and is administered by the Bainbridge Island Historical Society.
When was it completed and when did it open for visitation?
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial was dedicated on September 11, 1995. The memorial, located in downtown Seattle, commemorates the 120 individuals who were forcibly relocated from Bainbridge Island to concentration camps during World War II. The memorial is open to the public for tours daily from 9am to 5pm.
Why was it built?
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial was built in 1996 to remember the 110,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes on Bainbridge Island and other parts of the Pacific Coast during World War II. The memorial is located in a park on the island and features a granite obelisk flanked by two bronze flagpoles. The inscription on the obelisk reads:
“In commemoration of those Japanese Americans whose lives were disrupted and who lost their homes, livelihoods, freedom, and dignity in the wake of Executive Order 9066 issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942.”
Who designed the memorial and who are the artists?
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial was designed by renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The memorial is located on the grounds of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, Washington. The memorial consists of a granite wall with scrolling panels that tell the story of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II. There are also plaques dedicated to the individual lives lost during this time. The memorial’s artists are Noguchi and Yamasaki themselves, as well as Ken Nakamura, Faye Yamamoto, Minori Kawano, Hiromi Kozuka and Tomio Ohtani.
The Visitors Center
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is a sobering reminder of the injustice and terror inflicted on Japanese Americans during World War II. The memorial, located in downtown Poulsbo, tells the story of how more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated to concentration camps across the US between 1942 and 1946. Many of these individuals were living on Bainbridge Island when they were rounded up and taken away. Today, the memorial serves as a powerful source of remembrance and education for all who visit.
The Visitors Center features exhibits that explore the history of exclusion from both a local and national perspective, as well as an exhibit on the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in America’s concentration camps. Additionally, there is a video presentation about life in the camps, a library with books about Japanese American history and culture, and a gift shop stocked with souvenirs related to the memorial’s content.
The Remembrance Garden
The Remembrance Garden is a memorial on Bainbridge Island, Washington to the Japanese American residents who were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II. The garden was dedicated in 1988 and consists of a series of granite benches with bronze plaques that commemorate the lives of the Japanese Americans who were lost during the war. The garden is also home to a symbolic cherry tree, which was donated by the city of Seattle in honor of the Allied victory in World War II.
Facing the Past: The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is a moving tribute to the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes on Bainbridge Island and other Pacific Northwest communities during World War II. This museum not only tells the story of these courageous individuals but also honors their families, communities, and culture. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits that explore both the physical and psychological effects of being uprooted from one’s home and forced into an unfamiliar world. I highly recommend visiting Facing the Past: The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial if you are interested in learning more about this dark chapter in American history.
A great place to also visit is here