On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the creation of military zones to incarcerate nearly all 120,000 Japanese Americans living domestically during World War II.
“In the Japanese American community, it’s a really fundamental memorial. While I don’t think the incarceration defines us, I think it certainly was a huge impactful traumatic experience,” said Erin Shigaki, a community activist and member of the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee.
This Feb. 19 marks the 80th anniversary since the signing of Order 9066, and “not only are we losing our survivors of this experience, but we know that the trauma from it has carried down into all of us. … I think that a lot of [Japanese Americans] really feel like we have a moral imperative to stand up in the way that was missing in the ’40s,” Shigaki said.
In the Seattle area, most Japanese Americans spent their first few months incarcerated at Puyallup Assembly Center on the Washington State Fairgrounds (aka Camp Harmony) before their transfer to concentration camps in Idaho and California. This year, Minidoka Pilgrimage’s Remember and Resist commemoration event will begin on this site.
Remember and Resist is meant to be a celebration of healing, Shigaki said. “We’ll have some blessings, we’ll have an opportunity for people to participate by writing names of loved ones who went through this experience on mementos, we’ll have some taiko, which we feel is powerful medicine.”
Event participants will then travel to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, a site that community members have been working to shut down because of the similarities between those currently incarcerated at the private prison and the Japanese Americans placed in concentration camps last century, Shigaki said.
“The health care has been bad, there have been numerous outbreaks, the food has been extremely poor quality. And we just think it’s really important to be the kinds of friends and allies that were largely missing during World War II times,” she said.
The gathering at the Northwest Detention Center will include chanting and drumming, “which we think is really vital because we know that the folks inside can hear it,” as well as a connection to someone incarcerated inside via cellphone, Shigaki said.
“It’s a very grim anniversary. What we want to bring to this program is not only the seriousness of the date but the vitality and the resilience of our community, and that’s why we’re infusing it with art and blessing and music and solidarity — to really balance out the fullness of our community story,” Shigaki said.
Remember and Resist will take place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 19; it begins at the Washington State Fairgrounds (Blue Lot Parking, 311 10th Ave. S.E., Puyallup) and will move to the Northwest Detention Center (1623 E. J St., Tacoma) at 11 a.m. for a continuation of the program at noon. Masks and social distancing are required. Find more information at: st.news/9066
Executive Order 9066 commemoration events
Here are some other events observing the anniversary of Order 9066 in the Puget Sound area.
Remembrance: The Legacy of Executive Order 9066 in Washington State — Ongoing
In this permanent gallery at Washington State History Museum, find photographs, art, letters and more sourced by working with individuals and families who were directly impacted by Order 9066, including survivors and their descendants. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 888-238-4373; washingtonhistory.org
Executive Order 9066 After 80 Years: Where are We Now? — Feb. 17
Seattle Central College hosts an online Day of Remembrance event featuring Frank Abe, author of “We Hereby Refuse,” and Erin Shigaki, a community artist and activist, noon-1:30 p.m. Register online; free. seattlecentral.edu
Annual Day of Remembrance at the Washington State Legislature — Feb. 18
Join the Washington State Legislature for a virtual Day of Remembrance observance 12:30-2 p.m. This annual ceremony will commence on the Senate floor and will continue to the House of Representatives at 1:30 p.m. Streaming online; free. tvw.org
Executive Order 9066 — Feb. 18
The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington hosts a panel with community members Ats Kiuchi, Eileen Yamada Lamphere and Karen Yoshitomi 7-8 p.m. During the hour, viewers will listen to community member’s roles in the Japanese American community and their experiences with the lasting effects of Order 9066. RSVP online by 5 p.m. Feb. 17; free. jcccw.org
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial at Pritchard Park Volunteer Work Party — Feb. 19
Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation and Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association co-sponsor a volunteer work day 10 a.m.-noon to refresh and replant the Exclusion Memorial grounds and surrounding park. Register online; free. 4195 Eagle Harbor Drive N.E., Bainbridge Island; 206-842-4971; biparksfoundation.org
“Emerging Radiance”: Honoring the Nikkei Farmers of Bellevue — Feb. 19
Join artist Michelle Kumata, Bellevue Arts Museum creative director Tani Ikeda and Densho founding director Tom Ikeda for a Day of Remembrance broadcast at noon. The program will highlight stories of Bellevue’s Nikkei farmer community, introduce descendants of the farmers depicted in Kumata’s “Emerging Radiance” mural and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the installation at the museum. RSVP online; free. bellevuearts.org
Pictures of Executive Order 9066 — Feb. 19
Seattle Symphony presents “Pictures of Executive Order 9066,” a collaboration between filmmaker JJ Gerber and singer and songwriter Kishi Bashi that explores the stories of those impacted by Order 9066 in an interactive exhibit 1-7 p.m. The 10-minute self-guided multimedia experience also features oral histories supplied by Densho. Purchase tickets online; $12. 200 University St., Seattle; 206-215-4747; seattlesymphony.org
Day of Remembrances and the Japanese American Community — Feb. 19
In this virtual panel, Frank Abe, who helped organize the first Day of Remembrance in Seattle in 1978, and other early organizers will discuss the evolution of these events at 2 p.m. Historian Brian Niiya and Japanese American Citizens League executive director David Inoue will reflect on the legacy of the Day of Remembrance and discuss its role in the Japanese American community today. Stream on YouTube; free. seattlejacl.org
Memory Net Remembrance Project Unveiling — Feb. 19
Densho is launching a new community art initiative, the Memory Net Remembrance Project. In collaboration with resident artist Lauren Iida, Densho will select submissions of memory objects from the Japanese community and their ancestors during the Japanese American incarceration. Iida will select from these objects to incorporate into a 30-foot-long cut paper net to be hung as a semipermanent installation in Densho’s community room. The Memory Net will be unveiled live at 3 p.m. RSVP online; free. densho.org
The Lakeshore Day of Remembrance Display — Feb. 21
Join a Day of Remembrance ceremony and unveiling of The Lakeshore Display at The Lakeshore senior living facility at noon. The Lakeshore Display, in partnership with Barbara Yasui and Densho, will present residents’ memorabilia from the Japanese American incarceration. 11448 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; eraliving.com/communities/lakeshore
What else is happening
Here are some other events happening Feb. 18-24 in the Puget Sound area, including events celebrating Black History Month. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, fill out the form at the bottom of the post. Please check event websites for more information, including coronavirus requirements.
The Green Book: More than a Guide — Feb. 19
MOHAI presents a Black History Month celebration featuring the history of The Green Book with presentations from Black and Tan Hall, the Washington State Historical Society and more; an art installation to honor the influential history of Seattle’s early Black jazz scene will be present, too, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free with museum admission. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle; 206-324-1126; mohai.org
Cupid’s Undie Run — Feb. 19
Seattle Wedding Show — Feb. 19-20
The 31st annual Seattle Wedding Show includes a gown sale, fashion shows and more than 300 vendors, including event facilities, florists, bakeries, photographers and more, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 19; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 20. Purchase tickets online; $20. 705 Pike St., Seattle; 425-744-6509; weddingshow.com
NorthWest Scale Modelers Show — Feb. 19-20
The Museum of Flight hosts one of North America’s largest displays of scale models 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Find hundreds of crafted model aircraft, spacecraft, cars and more depicting the diversity of transportation design during the past 120 years. There will also be workshops and seminars with modeling experts. Free with museum admission. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle; 206-764-5700; museumofflight.org
Film Screening of “Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali” — Feb. 23
The Northwest African American Museum partners with the Heinz History Center in their screening of “Blood Brothers,” a Netflix film about the friendship between Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali at 2:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a talk with the film’s director, Marcus Clarke. Register online; free. naamnw.org
Here are some future events with ticket sales recently announced.
On Feb. 7, The Who announced their 2022 North American tour, The Who Hits Back!, with a stop 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Climate Pledge Arena. Ticket sales began Feb. 11. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. thewho.com/tour
On Feb. 7, Washington State Fair announced Blake Shelton will take the grandstand stage at the Washington State Fair Sept. 3. Ticket sales began Feb. 12. Purchase tickets online; $95-$300. thefair.com/concerts
Subscription ticket sales for Seattle Opera’s 2022-23 season, which includes “The Elixir of Love” and “Tristan and Isolde,” began Feb. 8 at seattleopera.org/subscribe.
On Feb. 9, Fleet Foxes announced a 2022 international tour in support of their Grammy-nominated album “Shore” with a stop July 15 at Marymoor Park. Ticket sales begin Feb. 18. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. fleetfoxes.co/shore/tour