Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Kitamoto Interview
Narrator: Frank Kitamoto
Interviewer: Lori Hoshino
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: April 13, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-kfrank-01-0001

FK: Bainbridge Island was probably one of the first places the Japanese settled on in the Northwest. Port Blakely is where the first Japanese that came to this area started working. And the first reported evidence on Bainbridge Island is in about 1883. And by the time the early 1900s occurred, there were probably two big towns at Port Blakely mill, plus probably some people that were down at Port Madison mill because it's just a big sawmill area. Port Madison -- Port Blakely, excuse me, was the largest sawmill in the United States at that time. And I think there were as many as 800 people in the two towns that were at Port Blakely. From there, people, some of the people, left the mill, some people jumped ship... they came in on the mill, came to the mill. I think agricultural-wise, the Moritanis planted the first strawberries on the Island and that was probably in the real early 1900s. I think community-wise, the Islanders, although they had essentially a culture of their own from the Japanese American, Japanese culture, they did associate quite a bit with the Caucasians that were here. Of course, schoolkids ended up going with schoolkids, so I think a lot of the close associations were with Caucasian children before the war.

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