WHC Local Grantee
Local Grant Awards
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community
Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol
in association with the
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community.
In 1942, two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government issued
Executive Order 9066 authorizing the relocation of 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry
living on the West Coast in order to incarcerate them in isolated and desolate concentration
camps. The government’s justification was to protect the country against espionage
and sabotage by Japanese Americans. Those rounded up included everyone who had at
least 1/16th of Japanese heritage—from newborn babies, young children and orphans,
to the elderly and the infirm. They were interned between 1942-1945 in ten states
from Idaho to Arkansas that were surrounded by barbed wire and soldiers with machine
guns facing inward.
Exclusion Order No. 1, authorizing the first relocation, targeted the Japanese Americans
living on Bainbridge Island, Washington. One of them was 31-year-old Fumiko Hayashida,
a pregnant mother of two. She was one of 227 members of her community who, dressed
in their best clothes, assembled at the Eagledale ferry landing on March 30th, 1942.
As they waited to be taken off the Island by armed military escorts, Fumiko, holding
her 13 month old daughter Natalie Kayo, was photographed by a Seattle Post-Intelligencer
photographer. The photograph has since become a lasting iconic symbol of the internment
Fumiko Hayashida's story reflects the effect of a great historical injustice on
the lives and dreams of many immigrant farming families in the early 1900s, and
how the futures of an entire ethnic community were changed by that experience. Families
suffered loss of property, hardship, and shame because they looked like the enemy.
Often separated from their husbands, in other camps or away fighting to defend the
country that had imprisoned their families, the mothers and grandmothers in the
Camps maintained the community.
With additional support from Humanities Washington, Artist Trust, the Bainbridge
Island Arts and Humanities Council, the Bainbridge Community Foundation and the
Celluloid Bainbridge Film Finishing Fund, the producers were able to lengthen the
original 9 minute website film to a 15 minute film.
The longer version of FUMIKO HAYASHIDA:THE WOMAN BEHIND THE SYMBOL premiered MOHAI and was broadcast on Public Television stations KCTS/Seattle and
KYVE/Yakima. Soon after, it was broadcast on Idaho Public Television and
on Oregon Public Broadcasting. The film was also shown on Spokane PBS and at the Minidoka Symposium in Twin Falls. The
theme of the symposium was Civil Liberties and the Arts.
The film was shown at the Port Townsend Film Festival, the Tacoma Film Festival, and the Gig Harbor Film Festival.
Fumiko Hayashida made an appearance at those festivals at age 99.
In addition, the film was shown at the Northwest Film Forum's Local Sightings
Film Festival in Seattle. The film was screened as part of Kitsap County's "One Book, One Community"
program in Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard, Bremerton and
Poulsbo. The film was screened along with several other of Lucy
Ostrander’s films at the Olympia Timberland Library and at the Japanese
American National Museum in Los Angeles.