The Sakai Family of Bainbridge Island (film)
Documentary film on the Sakai family, longtime residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington , based primarily on an interview with Kazuko "Kay" Sakei Nakao.
Sonoji Sakai first came to Bainbridge Island in 1915 and began farming with his wife Yoshiko in 1918. They had six children, five girls and one boy. The film begins with a gathering of all five of the girls in 2013. From there, the film becomes an oral history with the eldest, Kay, was born 1919. The first half of the film covers the prewar years: her parents' early life in Hiroshima and migration to the U.S., working on the family strawberry farm, helping with household chores, and the gradually improving economic conditions of the family, culminating with the building of a new farm house in 1936 that brought running water and electricity to the family. The second half covers the trauma of World War II: the attack on Pearl Harbor, preparing for forced removal, the journey to Manzanar , and life there and in Minidoka . Kay marries fellow Bainbridge Islander Sam Nakao in Minidoka, and her son Bruce is born there. A brief postwar segment covers the family's return to Bainbridge and their father's sale of a part of their property to the local school district in the 1950s for a new school. In 2000, the Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School opened. Augmenting the interview with Kay are segments with all five Sakai girls—Nobuko (b. 1923), Taeko (b. 1926), Chiyo (b. 1928), and Yae (b. 1929)—in which they reminisce about various aspects of their family story. Still photographs are cut into both the interview and group segments.
The Sakai Family of Bainbridge Island was produced by Snow Productions BI, a production company based on Bainbridge and run by Cameron Snow. Funding for the film came from the Parent-Teachers Organization, Sonoji Sakei Intermediate School and the Sakai Arts and Traditions Committee.
Might also like Our American Family: The Furutas (2015); After Silence: Civil Rights and the Japanese American Experience (2003); Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol (2009)