Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week to be Remembered – Monday in Boise, then on to Pocatello

                                                       © 2014 Doug Tamura
Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter receives a book.

This year's Day of Remembrance, Feb. 19, became a week to be remembered.

It began with an invitation from Janis Ogawa and Robert Hirai of the Boise Valley JACL to speak (briefly) at the annual Day of Remembrance Proclamation signing ceremony in the Governor's office in the Idaho state capitol building on Mon.  Feb. 17, 2014. People drove from Idaho Falls and Ontario, Oregon to attend the ceremony. Governor Otter, not expected to be in attendance, surprised us when he appeared. 

Robert Hirai, president of the Boise JACL chapter, welcomed everyone including Hiroshi Furusawa, the Consul General of Japan in Portland, Oregon. Gov. Otter opened his remarks with a joke, then Lt. Gov. Brad Little read the proclamation. Judy Geniac, National Park Service Superintendent of the Minidoka National Historic Site, gave us an update. I spoke about the book and my family's roots in Idaho, then 6th grade students from the Sage International School presented art projects made as an interpretation of the spirit of the Japanese and Japanese Americans who were incarcerated as a result of the signing of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942. Katherine Jones, an Idaho Statesman photographer, covered the event.

Thanks to the initiation of Jane Riley, a volunteer with Idaho State University's New Knowledge Adventures, I was invited to speak in Pocatello for the eve and Day of Remembrance.

Art Wright flew into Boise from Portland, Oregon after the session at the state capitol. We made the four-hour drive to Pocatello. 

On Tuesday afternoon Jane had organized a tour for Art and me of the Kizuna Garden at the Pocatello Regional Airport. Hugh Suenaga and Kim Hirning, both local volunteers who helped see the project through to completion, along with Cathy Vaughn, whose husband, Bill Vaughn, was another key creator of the garden, braved the wind to view the garden in a dormant but starkly beautiful state.

                                                                    Photo © 2014 Teresa Tamura
Pocatello's Japanese sister city is Iwamizawa. The Kizuna Garden
located at the entrance of the Pocatello Regional Airport
is a visual reminder of this connection and features circular mill stones along
the pathways brought from Japan by Hugh Suenaga's grandmother.
                                                                 Photo © 2014 Teresa Tamura
A chrysanthemum bowl is another detail featured in
Kizuna Garden. The chrysanthemum pattern is
used as the Imperial seal of Japan.

                                                                 Photo © 2014 Teresa Tamura
One of several lanterns featured in the garden. Each of the large 
boulders were hand selected and removed from neighboring 
areas before being carefully placed on site.

On Tuesday night, Jamie Bair hosted an evening presentation at the Marshall Public Library. Art's Minidoka video was shown, photographs were displayed, and I spoke about the first ten photos taken for the book project. There was a lively and curious audience gathered which included a freelance writer, Eniko Jordan, who wrote a story for the Idaho State Journal. Hero Shiosaki, depicted in the book and now 94, and his son, Cary, drove over from Blackfoot and added to the discussion. My ISU photo classmate, Peter Joyce, and his wife, Heather, were also there along with Art's long time friends, Dante and Judie Cantrill and Dennis and Margo Proksa. Friends of the Marshall Public Library handled book sales for the three Pocatello events.

The 1 p.m. talk for the Day of Remembrance with the New Knowledge Adventures group focused on the role of the educator during and after the incarceration in Minidoka. Many people in this group had toured the Minidoka National Historic Site with Bill and Cathy Vaughn. I was moved to see Cathy and three of her daughters in the audience. Bill passed away on Oct. 28, 2013. 

Then at 4 p.m., my presentation was titled: "Photography as Our Social Conscience." The event took place in the Wood River Room of the Pond Student Union Building on the Idaho State University campus and was organized by Linda Leeuwick, an assistant professor of art history at ISU. The event was presented by ISU's Committee for the Study of Violence, Conflict, and  War in Society and Continuing Education and Workforce Training.

                                        Photo © 2014 Teresa Tamura
The "I" is still there.

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