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Day of Remembrance: How to honor Japanese Americans imprisoned during WWII across Puget Sound region

More than 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced into imprisonment camps across the country shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

SEATTLE — Japanese Americans have held an annual Day of Remembrance on Feb. 19 since the late 1970s to remember the day Executive Order 9066 was announced. It was the order that sent more than 120,000 Japanese Americans to U.S. prison camps in 1942 during World War II, just over two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This year marks 80 years since the order was made, and a number of events in the Seattle area look to honor those imprisoned and work toward never repeating the dark period in the nation’s past.

In 1978, Frank Abe, Frank Chin and Henry Miyatake helped organize the first Day of Remembrance in Seattle, sparking a wave of events across the county, which became centerstage for Japanese Americans to demand an apology from the U.S. government.

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Below is a list of both virtual and in-person events around the Puget Sound region Saturday dedicated to remembering EO 9066 and those that suffered during one of the country’s darkest periods.

Remember and Resist: Day of Remembrance

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., a car rally will be held at Puyallup Fairgrounds and the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma led by various groups in the region.

The Puyallup Fairgrounds was the site of “Camp Harmony,” a detention camp that Japanese Americans in the Seattle area went to following EO 9066. Many of them transferred later to camps in Idaho and California.

To RSVP or gather more information, contact info@seattlejacl.org.

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

The Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation is inviting everyone to help beautify Pritchard Park from 10 a.m. to noon to advance 80 years of healing. The volunteer workday looks to symbolically observe the forced wartime exclusion of Japanese Americans from the island.

Volunteers should wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, long pants, work gloves and bring their favorite tools.

To sign up, email barb@biparksfoundation.org or call 206-842-4971.

Emerging Radiance: Honoring the Nikkei Farmers of Bellevue

Michelle Kumata, artist of the mural “Emerging Radiance,” will join a live Day of Remembrance broadcast highlighting the stories of Bellevue’s Nikkei farmer community. Kumata, whose mural pays tribute to the farmers, will help introduce descendants of Bellevue’s past and give a look at the mural’s installation at the Bellevue Arts Museum.

RSVP here to watch the online event at noon.

Executive Order 9066 After 80 Years – Where are We Now?

The Seattle Central College is marking the Day of Remembrance with its own panel featuring Frank Abe and community artist Erin Shigaki at noon.

Those looking to join can register in advance or join on Saturday here.

Pictures of Executive Order 9066

The Seattle Symphony will present a collaboration with filmmaker JJ Gerber and singer Kishi Bashi at Seattle’s Raisbeck Music Center called “Pictures of Executive Order 9066.”

The interactive exhibit, open from 1-7 p.m., explores the stories of those impacted by the order and features photographs of the Japanese American incarceration from photographer Dorothea Lange.

The experience is 10 minutes long and consists of a self-guided multi-media tour. Admission is $12 and those with tickets to the EO9066 will receive free entry on the day of their concert ticket.

Day of Remembrances: Standing for Redress and Reclaiming History

At 2 p.m., Frank Abe and other early organizers will gather for an online panel to discuss the evolution of Day of Remembrance events. Historian Brian Niiya and Japanese American Citizens League Executive Director David Inoue will also reflect on the legacy of the day and discuss how it factors into the Japanese American community now.

Watch the panel live on Saturday here.

Memory Net Remembrance Project Unveiling

The Memory Net Remembrance Project is a new art initiative being launched by Densho, a nonprofit that documents the stories of Japanese Americans who were placed in imprisonment camps during WWII.

The group has been taking submissions of “memory objects” that symbolize hope, strength and resistance for Japanese Americans and their ancestors during the WWII incarceration.

Densho resident artist Lauren Iida will be selecting from these objects to incorporate into a 30-foot cut paper net to be hung in the Densho community room.

The project is being unveiled on Saturday at 3 p.m., and anyone can register to watch the unveiling.

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