Welcome to the Emerging Radiance virtual farmhouse. This project honors the untold stories of Japanese American farmers who lived in Bellevue, WA from 1920 to 1942. These farmers transformed unusable land into a thriving and prosperous community before being forcibly uprooted and incarcerated, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans, during WWII.
Open your smartphone camera and follow the QR codes to meet your guides, farmers Toshio Ito, Rae Matsuoka Takekawa, and Mitsuko Hashiguchi. Listen and explore as they share, in their own voices, their connections to the land before the war, during incarceration, and post-World War II. We hope you feel inspired, as so many visitors have, by their legacy of resilience.
In Bellevue, Rae Takekawa’s father was a community leader who helped organize Japanese farmers so they could get fair prices for their crops. Although he was a U.S. citizen and had done nothing wrong, he was arrested and taken away by the FBI within hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Rae describes that night and the realization of how quickly her life would change.
Mitsi Hashiguchi spent almost three years incarcerated at Tule Lake, which she described as “a desert with no green.” During this time she thought often about her family's beautiful Bellevue farm. When she finally returned home, she found a terrible mess, it was a memory she couldn’t speak about for years.
On December 7th, Tosh Ito and his mother were pulled over and searched because of their Japanese ancestry while crossing the new floating bridge. Tosh knew he and other Japanese Americans would now be treated differently, but didn’t know what to do other than to continue to farm.