Congratulations to Mary Matsuda Gruenewald on being named GRAND MARSHAL for the 2016 Vashon-Maury Island Strawberry Festival parade.
Before Pearl Harbor (Dec 1941), Vashon Island had a thriving Japanese farming community that produced most of its berries. 122 island residents were interned and their properties seized with Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. That order in effect erased the Japanese presence from the island. This year, Vashon's Strawberry Festival will honor those Japanese farmers and its agrarian community past and present with traditional Japanese music and dance. Friends of Mukai has been lending assistance in planning for the events and will help during Festival.
In celebration, master teacher and performer, Mary Ohno, will bring her Kabuki Academy performance troupe and students to Vashon for Saturday, July 16th's festivities. They will participate in the parade, and lead a community dance of Bon Odori on Bank Road just after the parade's end, as well as perform a traditional Shamisen music and dance concert at the Land Trust, 10014 SW Bank Rd, at 3:30 p.m. Bon Odori is a simple folk dance done in unison, moving in a circle, to honor ancestors. Ohno has been an ambassador of Japanese traditional music and dance for over 30 years.
Vashon poet, Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma will open both the community Bon Odori and shamisen music and dance concert by performing a poem commissioned for the memorial celebration.
A free Bon Odori dance workshop hosted by the Vashon Center for the Arts will be given on Sunday, July 10 at 3 pm, at the Blue Heron, 19704 Vashon Hwy SW. The workshop is facilitated by Mary Ohno of the Kabuki Academy as well as Leah Mann of Lelavision. All are welcome to come to learn the dance before-hand or to just jump into the circle on the 16th and learn as you go! Join the unifying dance after the parade Saturday, July 16.
This community arts experience is made possible by a generous grant from 4Culture.
Friends of Mukai - Strawberry festival Booth
Friends of Mukai will be hosting a booth at Strawberry Festival to give Islanders and others a chance to learn more about the Mukai House and Garden: present status and future plans for restoration. Volunteers will explain the history and significance of these historical landmarks. It will also give everyone an opportunity to learn about plans for restoring the gardens, improving the House, and using the Mukai Agricultural Complex as a way to educate the public about the contributions of Vashon’s Japanese population. Look for the Friends of Mukai booth by the Rock Pizza, in front of Essentials 4.
An Interview with Mary Matsuda Gruenewald
Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, who was 90 years old in 2015 when this interview took place, is a retired Seattle health care professional and author of the memoir Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps (NewSage Press, 2005).
Mary Matsuda was a 17 year old living on her family's strawberry farm on Vashon Island on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The island's Japanese-American leaders were taken away by the FBI and detained in secret. Her family knew the government would come for them next, so they burned all of their Japanese possessions - family photographs, her father's music, treasured books, even her dolls. They did not want to look even faintly sympathetic to Japan, the country responsible for the Pearl Harbor devastation. Five months after the attack, on May 16, 1942, the Matsuda family and the other Japanese-American families on Vashon Island were forced to evacuate Vashon Island, and moved into the "protective custody" of inland internment camps for three years, along with almost 120,000 others of Japanese descent.
This interview captures parts of Mary's stories that are not fully covered in Looking Like the Enemy, and asks specific questions about her experience on Vashon Island and her knowledge of the Japanese-American community on Vashon before and after World War II.
To view the interview Click Here
We want you to join us to make this happen, because This Place Matters!
Over 250 members of the Friends of Mukai agree that This Place Matters.