Liberty Bank co-founders: George Tokuda

I'm starting to make faces -- collaged faces -- for the Liberty Bank Building portrait series.

This is George Tokuda, one of the original Liberty Bank's nine co-founders. He and his family owned Tokuda Drugs, a longtime fixture of Seattle's Central District. community.

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His daughter Wendy Tokuda was kind enough to send me the original photo of George; she remembers "how proud he was to be on the bank board. It’s where I got my college loan!"

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George was a native Washingtonian, born around 1913 in Mukilteo where Japanese immigrants worked for a lumber company. The area (now a hiking trail and nature preserve) is still known as Japanese Gulch.

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George's family later moved down to Seattle, where he opened the drugstore in 1935. But as a Japanese American in the Pacific Northwest during World War II, he was one of thousands rounded up and sent to the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho.

  Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

Learning how much George gave to his communities -- and how much was taken from him -- I find the city of Mukilteo's logo and welcome sign painfully ironic.

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So I altered my photo of this lighthouse sign...

  Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

Photo credit: Minidoka Historical Site/ NPS

... replacing the lighthouse tower with the ruins of the Minidoka guard and entrance gate.

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I'm deeply grateful to Wendy Tokuda, the Mukilteo Historical Society, HistoryLink and the Liberty Bank photo archives for the opportunity to honor Mr. Tokuda. 

Posted on June 15, 2018 and filed under art practice.