This week marks the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the racially-targeted presidential order that unlawfully incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese American individuals in prison camps across the western United States.
Before the 1942 Executive Order, over 75% of Pike Place Market farmers were Japanese. These family farmers were forced off their land, out of our city, and never returned to sell at Pike Place. It is with sincere regret that the Market didn’t do more to keep these farmers safe in their community.
Today, the Market Foundation honors the Japanese community who combated racist practices and helped develop Pike Place Market into one of the most renowned public markets in the country. Going forward, we remain fully committed to dismantling barriers, promoting stability, and centering equity so that every member of our community has the opportunity to live healthy, vibrant lives.
To learn more and take part in recognizing Day of Remembrance:
- Read Seattle Times reporter Elise Takahama’s column about her great-grandfather getting arrested at his produce stand in Pike Place Market, and her family’s subsequent journey to understand the devastating effects of incarceration.
- Explore Pike Place Market stories on Densho, a nonprofit founded in Seattle in 1996 that records oral testimonies of those incarcerated during WWII.
- Read Displacement by our friend Kiku Hughes at HistoryLink. This graphic novel tells the story of a teenager pulled back in time to witness her grandmother’s experiences in the internment camps.
- Check out the Bellevue Art Museum’s exhibit Emerging Radiance: featuring the work of artists Michelle Kumata and Tani Ikeda and honoring the Nikkei Farmers of Bellevue. This exhibit is open through March 13.
Photo courtesy of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project. “Stall at the Public Market” (ddr-densho-34-123) Densho, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection.