Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

War Extra printed by the Review newspaper – Mary Woodward (OH0081)


When Pearl Harbor was attacked, they — I think the paper came out on Thursday. Pearl Harbor was Sunday. — They stayed up into Monday morning putting together a one page War Extra, to primarily… well there were two purposes for it; one was to get civil defense information out to folks. “Don’t drive at night with your lights on. If you’re at home after dusk, you have to cover your windows,” that kind of thing. “If the church bells ring incessantly, that means something’s coming and you have to be prepared and don’t ring the church bells except at a time like that.” Things like that, that people had to know. Who was in charge of what aspect of the civil defense.

They also… about half of that one page extra was devoted to the situation with the Japanese on the island who were, maybe, I’ve heard different estimates but one is one seventeenth of the population of the island, one tenth of the student population. So a substantial number of islanders were… could trace their heritage to the country that had just bombed us. They interviewed some of the elders in the community. They interviewed some of the Issei, and I think, also, some of the younger Nisei were included in that but mostly to talk with… Mr. Koura, was interviewed, I recall and saying that “we are one hundred percent American and loyal and we want to do whatever we can to help in the war effort.” They also had an editorial which was double column and ran the whole length of the left side of the page, saying, “Let’s be reasonable.

We’ve got folks here in our community who look like the enemy but we know they’re our neighbors and let’s not… let’s just go on as we have and recognize our neighbors are not the ones who bombed us.” That actually was pretty similar to a lot of newspapers. There were editorials like that all around the Puget Sound area and even some of the California papers saying, you know, let’s be reasonable.

Video Interview — August, 2007

Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward Pratt is the youngest daughter of Walt and Milly Woodward, owners of the Bainbridge Review during World War Two. The Review was the only newspaper to use its editorials to consistently speak out against the exclusion and internment of Japanese Americans. In 2008 Mary authored the book In Defense of our Neighbors, which records how the Review helped create an environment that was friendly to those who, like the editors, strongly opposed the exclusion.