Friday, June 09, 2006

Art Jacobs Interview

Please take about a half hour and watch this piece where Art Jacobs describes his wartime experiences as the American born son of German immigrants sent to an American internment camp in Crystal City, Texas and eventually to a prison camp in Germany.

This is history that is all too ignored today. Thanks Art for taking the time to produce this film.

Here's the link!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bizarre story in the Kitsap Sun

Here it is. World politics comes to Bainbridge.

Marshall Islands President Visits
By Rachel Pritchett

So here's how it goes: Council member Jim Llewellyn is dressed in his jeans and holey work shirt and he stops by City Hall to get his mail Thursday afternoon.

Whoa. Outside is this swarm of Secret Service guys and a caravan of dark SUVs with their engines revving. Inside, it's none other than the president of the Marshall Islands and his official delegation.

"I was just coming in to get my mail," Llewellyn said. "I forgot about this."
The surprise visit was announced only Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee's office.
Moments before, the congressman had ushered His Excellency Kessai Note inside for a stand-up-and-salute welcome.

The national leader, First Lady Mary, the Marshallese ambassador and other dignitaries were on Bainbridge just briefly to take a look at the Japanese internment memorial at Pritchard Park now under construction. Some 10 percent of the Western Pacific nation's population of 60,000 is of Japanese ancestry, according to Marshallese Ambassador Banny de Brum.

The visit was part of a rare whirlwind tour of the Northwest to touch base with an estimated 700 to 1,000 fellow Marshallese living here. The delegation was in Oregon Wednesday; Seattle was the next stop.

Inslee towered over the Micronesian leader, issuing a welcome to a "fellow islander." Helping things along was Clarence Moriwaki, the representative of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community instrumental in bringing the leader here. Also on hand were several elderly Bainbridge Islanders of Japanese ancentry and state Rep. Beverly Woods.

Both sides came with cool presents.

The U.S. side got a model of an outrigger canoe, basket and navigational aid made of sticks and shells. His Excellency got a bottle of strawberry wine, a book, some stuff from IslandWood, a T-shirt and flowers from the mayor along with a sorry she couldn't be there.

When asked by the Kitsap Sun about top problems at home, the president pointed to 30 percent unemployment and his attempts to develop the economy. Tourism is the big hope, with Continental Airlines just adding a flight there, he said.

The president said he found Bainbridge "beautiful" and "very nice and clean."

Before leaving for the internment memorial, there was time for one more flurry of official photographs.

Llewellyn, with the holey shirt, winced as he was motioned to go and stand up in front.


The recollection below reminds me of one of the many sent by old timers interested in honest history. He grew up in California well before the war.

I'll share it with you.

"...The Japanese boys and Caucasian boys from around the neighborhood would, as boys do everywhere, get together for a game of "cops and robber" or "cowboys and indians". At least that is what we expected.

Instead the Japanese kids wanted to play a game of their own doing. It was a war game. Two sides were chosen up, and it seemed what we ended up with the Japanese boys on one side and white boys on the other. During this long ago child's play, Kenji changed in character. All the Japanese boys became aggresive and even belligerent as the game progressed. I remember how they used to rush us and shout, "You'll never take truck! You'll never take truck!"

I had know idea what they were talking about. What would we want to "take a truck" for? At a lull in the game, I asked my older brother what did they mean about "taking a truck?" He answered that "truck" was out in the ocean somewhere.

That still didn't make any sense to me, but years later I did understand that Truk was a Japanese held island in the Pacific..."

Truk as well as the Marshall and other island chains were taken from Germany by Japan in 1914 and considered Japanese soil. Like Manchuria, Chosen, The Philippines, Brazil, Hawaii, The West Coast of America and other countries/regions, Japan immediately sent ethnic Japanese to settle the islands and in the case of Truk the ethnic Japanese population reached about 100,000 overwhelming the nearly 40,000 locals.

According to the above article the Marshalls is still about 10% ethnic Japanese.

I wonder if they still consider it Japanese soil?

Inviting the President of a former Japanese protectorate to Bainbridge Island to only view the "internment memorial" and meet only with eldery ethnic Japanese is bizarre.

I wonder if they were reminiscing the good old days....