Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial — History and Purpose
The Bainbridge Islanders were the first of nearly 120,000 other Nikkei — people of Japanese ancestry – exiled from the west coast, the result of Executive Order 9066 issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, followed by Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1 on March 24, 1942.
Allowed to only take what they could carry or wear — and not knowing where they were going, how long they would be gone, or if they would even return — after a three–day train ride with window blinds shut, on April 1, 1942 they finally arrived at the Relocation Center at Manzanar, an isolated American concentration camp in the desert on the eastern slopes of the California Sierra Nevada mountains.
About a year later, a majority of the Bainbridge Islanders transferred to the Minidoka Relocation Center in southern Idaho. Along with Manzanar, Minidoka was one of ten major American concentration camps located in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.
The exclusion and imprisonment of these nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans was a clear violation of their constitutional rights, specifically those guaranteed under the fourth, fifth, sixth and fourteenth amendments.
This grave injustice was finally recognized and affirmed by the U.S. government with an official apology and redress to the remaining survivors with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed by President Ronald Reagan. Official apologies were also offered by Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton.
Back to MEMORIAL Introduction
Back of Army Convoy Truck on Day of Forced Removal — Left to right: Unknown soldier, Seijiro Nakamura, Kiyoko Ruth Nakamura, Akira Nakamura, Reverend Kihachi Hirakawa, Miyeko Jane Nakamura. March 30, 1942. Bainbridge Island, WA. Copyright: Library of Congress