Peninsula libraries host Japanese-American internment exhibit, speaker

This April, the North Olympic Library System partners with Humanities Washington to recognize the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, with presentations on how Japanese Americans faced the injustice of internment.

Writer and curator Mayumi Tsutakawa, a lecturer with the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, leads free conversations at all NOLS branches.

Tsutakawa presents “The Pine and the Cherry” at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave.

She will make similar presentations at noon April 7 at the Clallam Bay Library, at noon on April 8 at the Forks Library and 4 p.m. on April 8 at the Port Angeles Library.

Tsutakawa’s visit to the North Olympic Library System also coincides with “The Tragedy of War: Japanese American Internment,” an exhibit on display at the Port Angeles Library.

The exhibit provides context for some of the more complex stories of World War II and will be on display from April 6-27.

‘The Pine and the Cherry’

Prior to World War II, Japantown in Seattle featured grocery stores, cafes, music clubs, as well as native-language services. Trading companies imported Japanese goods and restaurants served the familiar sukiyaki, tofu and miso soup. In Eastern Washington, Japanese farmers prospered.

Then came Executive Order 9066. Those born in Japan, as well as their American-citizen offspring, were sent without due process, to concentration camps in windswept deserts. Throughout the West Coast 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes.

Most Seattle-based Japanese spent the war years at Camp Minidoka in Idaho. When they returned, they had lost everything and could not find work.

Tsutakawa will reveal her family’s 100-year history against the backdrop of this dramatic American story.

Tsutakawa is an independent writer and curator who focuses on Asian/Pacific American history. She co-edited “The Forbidden Stitch: Asian American Women’s Literary Anthology,” and edited two books on pioneer Asian American artists: “They Painted from Their Hearts” and “Turning Shadows into Light.” She received her master’s degree in communications and her bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies at the University of Washington.

For more

The goal of Humanities Washington is to spark conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, promoting thoughtful and engaged communities across the state. The Speakers Bureau is one of Humanities Washington’s oldest and most popular programs. A roster of 35 cultural experts and scholars provides public presentations across the state and cover a variety of topics, including popular culture, photography, architecture, literature, food, film and history. For more about the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, visit

For more information about this program, visit and select “Events,” call 417-8500, email to or see