The Vashon Island School District, in partnership with the Vashon Heritage Museum, Mukai Farm & Garden and the Vashon Fruit Club, is hosting a public ceremony on Sunday, March 26, at 1:30 pm, to unveil an interpretive sign (left). The path sign commemorates and honors the 28 Japanese American Vashon students who were forcibly removed from their homes with their families in May 1942 and sent to the Pinedale, Tule Lake and other JA incarceration camps. The ceremony will be held at Vashon High School, 9600 SW 204th St., Vashon.
“In making this sign, we want the students at Vashon High, in particular, and the rest of the community who views it to know that the children who were exiled had names,” said Friends of Mukai Board President Rita Brogan. “We worked hard to make this as personal as possible.”
In addition to honoring the students, the sign also celebrates a gift of 100 cherry trees given to the District by Ujiro Nishiyori, President of Vashon’s Japanese Society, in March 1932. Through the years, as new buildings were built and old buildings were torn down, the cherry trees have slowly dwindled in number. Today, just four remain. To amend this, the Fruit Club grafted scions from the remaining trees to create 100 new cherry tree rootstocks.
With funding from the Kip Tokuda Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the District hired Vashon High alumnus Chatal Uto to design the sign. Uto, who was born in Japan, spent hours at the Vashon Heritage Museum studying old yearbooks to understand the Vashon JA community of the past.