For 11 years I have been researching, photographing and interviewing the subjects of the War Relocation Authority photographers, Dorothea Lange, Clem Albers and Tom Parker were some who documented the forced removal of 120,000 ethnic Japanese Americans, 2/3 who were American citizens from the west coast of the United States during WWII.
Fumiko Hayashida, 95, and her daughter Natalie Ong, 66, on the family farm where they lived before their forced removal from Bainbridge Island in 1942.
Hayashida, a second-generation Japanese American, was born on Bainbridge Island; America was her home. When she and her family returned from camp in August 1945, they discovered they’d lost everything. Even so, said Ong: “We were fortunate that we had the house and land to come back to. People who rented or had mortgages they couldn’t pay – they were the ones that lost.” “And I was happy to speak out after 9/11, when people were talking about interning those that looked liked those that did the bombing. Hey, wait a minute, that’s wrong, and it’s happened to me.” My traveling exhibition is “Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit: Triumphing over Adversity Japanese American WWII Incarceration Reflections, Then and Now”
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