Project's Summary

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, a project created by the architectural studio EDX Exhibits, pays tribute to the Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II. In collaboration with Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community members, Seattle architect Jones and Jones, artist Steve Gardner, and fabricator Turner Exhibits, EDX designed the interpretive experience for the memorial wall.

The memorial is located on a historically significant site that marks the path taken by the prisoners to the dock, where they were boarded onto ferries bound for their eventual sites of incarceration at Manzanar and Minidoka. EDX worked closely with Jones and Jones to create a reflective and evolving experience for visitors as they move down the wall towards the dock location.

The design of the memorial wall consists of a series of understated and spare friezes that tell the linear story of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community. These friezes depict their active role in the island community as farmers, millworkers, teachers, students, and neighbors, followed by their forced removal from the island, their incarceration, and the eventual return of 150 individuals to the island.

Each individual who was incarcerated is honored by name, hand-stamped into clay on the memorial wall. In addition to the personal tributes, the broader story is conveyed through quotes, brief interpretive narratives, and ceramic friezes created by Steve Gardner. The memorial also provides tasteful hooks alongside the interpretive elements, allowing visitors to leave behind origami cranes to honor those who suffered.

The significance of the site is further recognized by its inclusion as a satellite unit of the Minidoka National Historic Site. With its motto "Nidoto Nai Yoni"—Let it not happen again!—the memorial aims to bring the story of the Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans to future generations.

Overall, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial stands as a powerful reminder of the strength and perseverance of those impacted by Executive Order 9066. Through thoughtful design and storytelling, EDX Exhibits has created an immersive experience that honors the past and serves as a call to prevent such injustices from happening in the future.

Project's associated companies