Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Bainbridge Gardens – Junkoh Harui (OH0059)


What actually happened was that they had developed Bainbridge Gardens into a wonderful place… grocery store and greenhouses and nursery yard and vegetable gardens, and ornamental fountains and water features. All of that went under trauma except for the grocery store. The grocery store was leased out to some very honest people who paid the rent. So, by paying the rent they were able to pay the taxes. A lot of families lost their whole land and buildings all because they couldn’t come up with the money to pay the taxes. So, my uncle and my father — bless the grocery store owner or renter — were able to pay their taxes. But unfortunately the people who ran the nursery just let it go and it crashed under the heavy weight of the snow. The greenhouses were totally collapsing.

Most of the inventory and the ornamentals that… the beautiful fountains, etc… water features, they were all either pilfered or damaged beyond repair. It must have been really crushing to come back and see that. My dad… I do remember one thing after we came back, we were driving around the island for some reason, I’m not sure, but my dad would point out certain trees and he says, “You know, that was… used to be mine.” So that’s… they ended up… they must have had a, a free for all for picking up the plants. So it must have been painful for my dad, and my uncle, because they had worked so hard.

The total devastation pretty much ended their partnership. And so they split the property. He got the east side and we got the west side. They both tried to, both my uncle and my dad, separately tried to rebuild Bainbridge Gardens. We kind of had a Bainbridge Gardens One and Bainbridge Gardens Two. They were both getting up in age and they didn’t have the energy to bring it up to where it was.

Video Interview — February 2007

Junkoh Harui

Junkoh Harui was 9 years old and in the third grade when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He was the second youngest of five children. The Harui family, along with the Shibayamas and Sekos, moved to Moses Lake during a short window when residents of Bainbridge Island were allowed to move outside of the exclusion zone. Junkoh's father, Zenhichi Harui, and uncle, Zenmatsu Seko, co–owned Bainbridge Gardens Nursery and Grocery store before the war.