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Contact: Charles Beall, 206-220-4232
Today, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, a unit of Minidoka National Historic Site, introduces a Junior Ranger program designed to engage and inspire learners of all ages. The program consists of a downloadable activity booklet featuring original graphics and design by Seattle-based artist Arisa Nakamura, and was supported by the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program, established in 2000 and renamed in 2014 by the Washington State Legislature, to “establish a legacy of remembrance as part of a continuing process of recovery from the World War II exclusion and detention of individuals of Japanese ancestry.”
The Memorial commemorates the Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island, Washington, who were the first to be forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated during World War II under Executive Order 9066. The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians would later determine in 1980 that the action had no military or Constitutional basis and was instead the result of “war hysteria, racial prejudice, and lack of political leadership.” The Memorial serves to help us learn from this past injustice while inspiring us to act and prevent future injustice. The Memorial’s theme is Nidoto Nai Yoni -- let it not happen again.
The Junior Ranger activity booklet is designed for intergenerational learning and uses terminology to accurately describe the history of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II without perpetuating euphemistic terms that the U.S. Government and others employed at the time, or incorrect terms later substituted that do not adequately describe the injustice experienced by more than 120,000 people. The Memorial, and other National Park Service sites that preserve and share this history seek to be safe places for people to experience, learn about, and in some cases remember the historic events that occurred there. Using accurate language is one way to add depth and increase the understanding of Japanese American removal and confinement.
The free booklet is available on-line, at the Memorial when the ranger is present, and at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. A free Junior Ranger badge is available after activities are completed and reviewed with a park ranger in-person, through the mail, or via email.
Park rangers currently staff the Memorial on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and welcome the opportunity to share the Memorial with you. Bearing the Unbearable, a National Park Service-produced film that tells the story of the forced removal of Japanese Americans from their home on Bainbridge Island during World War II and their subsequent incarceration at Manzanar and Minidoka concentration camps, is available to stream for free on-line or purchase in DVD format and watch before or after your visit to the Memorial. While on Bainbridge Island, you are also encouraged to visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, and explore the area’s many shops, restaurants, historical sites, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Visit Bainbridge Island can help you plan a trip.
The Memorial is located on Bainbridge Island, adjacent to Pritchard Park, about four miles from the Washington State Ferries Bainbridge Island terminal. 4192 Eagle Harbor Drive NE is the best address to use for GPS mapping location assistance. The Memorial is also accessible by Kitsap Transit and for those seeking public transit, BI Ride, a shared-ride service that operates on Bainbridge Island by both rider request and by serving scheduled stops, is recommended.
The Memorial became part of the National Park System in 2008 and is collaboratively managed by the National Park Service with the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District, and Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.
Last updated: May 19, 2021