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.