Japanese Heritage in the Yakima Valley

2/20/2020 12:02 PM

Location: Yakima Convention Center

In June 1942, over 1,000 Yakima Valley residents of Japanese heritage were boarded on trains that took them to temporary internment quarters at the Portland, Oregon Livestock Exposition barns, and in August 1942 to a permanent custom-built internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming.  Originally, the removal of the Japanese from the Pacific Coast - precipitated by the unsubstantiated fear of this population after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the beginning of World War II - was to extend only as far as the crest of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State.  However, the eastern border of the removal zone was later moved to the Columbia River, which encompassed all the Yakima Valley.  

In 2007, John Baule and others worked with the descendants of families sent to Wyoming to document their stories through a major exhibition at the Yakima Valley Museum.  This week, John will share stories and pictures of the Japanese in the Yakima Valley from their arrival in the early 1900s to the present day, to the Japan Town businesses on South Front Street and the productive farms near Wapato and Toppenish, to the modern-day activities of the Wapato Buddhist Church.