Submitted by Marianne Bull.
STEILACOOM – Mayumi Tsutakawa, whose father was renowned northwest sculptor George Tsutakawa, will reveal her family’s 100-year history on Friday, December 14, as part of the Steilacoom Library Speaker Series. She will discuss what life was like for the Japanese of Washington during World War II as it has been 75 years since the Executive Order 9066 was announced.
In the lead up to WWII, Japantown in Seattle featured grocery stores, cafes, and native-language services, as well as labor and music clubs. Trading companies imported Japanese goods, and restaurants served the familiar sukiyaki, tofu, and miso soup. In Eastern Washington, Japanese farmers prospered.
Then, in came Executive Order 9066. Those born in Japan, as well as their American citizen offspring, were sent to concentration camps in windswept deserts without due process. Throughout the West Coast, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes. Most Seattle Japanese spent the war years at Camp Minidoka in Idaho and when they returned, most had lost everything and could not find jobs.
How did they fact this injustice and rebuild their lives? How does a lively immigrant community face racist or religious hatred?
Mayumi Tsutakawa will be speaking at the Steilacoom High School Library at 3:00 on Friday. The event is free and is sponsored by the Steilacoom Library in partnership with the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association and the Friends of the Library.