A grandfather and his grandchildren await an evacuation bus in 1942, in Hayward, California, during the Japanese evacuation and internment (Dorothea Lange Photo).

A grandfather and his grandchildren await an evacuation bus in 1942, in Hayward, California, during the Japanese evacuation and internment (Dorothea Lange Photo).

Japanese Day of Exile remembered in art and poetry

Commemorates the day Japanese American residents of Vashon Island were forced to leave their homes.

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019 1:41pm
  • Arts

Mukai Farm & Garden will install “Nisei Trilogy,” a commemorative work of art, at its Day of Exile open house, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Mukai Farm & Garden.

The community is invited to attend the installation and unveiling of the artwork created collaboratively by award-winning poet Lawrence Matsuda and acclaimed artist Roger Shimomura.

The two artists collaborated to create “Nisei Trilogy,” which reveals the Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) experience of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, life in the internment camps and the return home to hostile American communities.

Matsuda will read his poetry and share a short documentary about the Minidoka internment camp, where he was born in 1945. “They took us, and we didn’t want to go, and when the war was ending they released us, and we had nowhere to go,” Hanae Matsuda told her son Lawrence.

The Day of Exile commemorates the day Japanese American residents of Vashon Island were forced under armed escort to leave their homes. They were ultimately scattered into seven of the nine West Coast concentration camps, which shattered the Vashon Japanese American community.

The set of limited edition prints, gifted to the Mukai Farm & Garden by Matsuda and Shimomora, is also shown at University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library, The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center and Portland State University. “Nisei Trilogy” will remain on permanent display in the Mukai house.

Friends of Mukai maintain The Mukai Farm and Garden as a reminder of the contributions of the Mukai family and the Japanese American immigrant community to 20th-century agriculture, business and community life.

For more information, visit mukaifarmandgarden.org.

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