In the lead-up to World War II, Japantown in Seattle featured grocery stores, cafes, and native-language services, as well as labor and music clubs. Trading companies imported Japanese goods, and restaurants served the familiar sukiyaki, tofu, and miso soup. In Eastern Washington, Japanese farmers prospered.
Then came Executive Order 9066. Those born in Japan, as well as their American-citizen offspring, were sent, without due process, to concentration camps in windswept deserts. Throughout the West Coast, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes. Most Seattle Japanese spent the war years at Camp Minidoka in Idaho, and when they returned, most had lost everything and could not find jobs.
How did they face this injustice and rebuild their lives? How does a lively immigrant community face racist or religious hatred? The 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 is in 2017, and Mayumi Tsutakawa, whose father was renowned sculptor George Tsutakawa, will reveal her family’s 100-year history against the backdrop of this dramatic American story.
Read an interview with Maymumi Tsutakawa here.
Mayumi Tsutakawa is an independent writer and curator who has focused on Asian/Pacific American history. She co-edited The Forbidden Stitch: Asian American Women’s Literary Anthology which received the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. She also edited two books on pioneer Asian American artists: They Painted from their Hearts and Turning Shadows into Light. Tsutakawa received her master’s degree in communications and her bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies at the University of Washington. Her graduate thesis is one of the few documents to research pre-war Japanese American newspapers. Tsutakawa also was manager of grants for the Washington State Arts Commission and previously directed King County’s arts and historic preservation programs.
Tsutakawa lives in Seattle.
For more information on how to book a speaker, please contact Hannah Schwendeman at (206) 682-1770 x101 or by email.