Tacoma will be holding its third Japanese American Day of Remembrance on Thursday May 17, 2018, at the Washington State History Museum, from 4:00 -7:00 p.m. The event is co-hosted by Tacoma Japanese American History and the Washington State History Museum.
On May 17 and 18, 1942–on the authorization of President Franklin Roosevelt and the signing of Executive Order 9066–over 700 Japanese Americans were forcibly evacuated from Tacoma’s Union Station and sent to Pinedale Assembly Center near Fresno, California. Though a small fraction of the population returned to Tacoma, the city’s once-thriving Japantown never returned to its prewar vitality.
Sansei freelance writer Tamiko Nimura (who is an IE contributing writer) is organizing the event. “For the last few years I have worked to serve and connect Nikkei communities through my writing,” she says. “I am still learning about Tacoma’s stories, but with this event, I hope to honor the vibrancy of Tacoma’s historic Japanese American community and showcase the persistence and resilience of its cultural vitality today,” added Nimura
The event is free and kid-friendly. The sponsoring organizations include the Puyallup Valley JACL, Seattle JACL, the Tacoma Historical Society, and the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.
4:00: Welcome and opening remarks by Tamiko Nimura, event organizer
4:30: Japanese folk song sing-along with Megumi Azekawa, music therapist
5:30: Performance by Tacoma Fuji Taiko, resident group with the Tacoma Buddhist Temple
6:00: Q&A with Professors Lisa Hoffman and Mary Hanneman of the Japanese Language School Oral History Project, UW Tacoma. Presentation on mapping Tacoma’s Japantown by Sarah Pyle, Urban Studies, UW Tacoma.
6:30: Memory procession from the Washington State History Museum to Union Station, minute of silence for those departed, remarks by local historian Michael Sullivan
Ongoing through the afternoon at the History Museum:
* Pop-up historic photo exhibit on “Tacoma’s Japantown: Then and Now”
* Origami crane display by 3 historically Japanese American Methodist congregations: Blaine Memorial Church in Seattle, Highland Park in Spokane, and the Whitney Memorial United Methodist Church (formerly of Tacoma/Puyallup)
* Public craft activity in the museum lobby: creating a memorial sculpture with origami paper, luggage tags and bamboo