On Feb. 1, “Meet Me at Higo,” a traveling exhibit from the Wing Luke Museum, will open in the Level 8 gallery at The Seattle Public Library’s Central Library.
The exhibit, which runs through March 26, 2023, tells the story of Higo 10 Cents Store (or Higo Variety Store), owned and operated by the Murakami family from 1907 to 2003 in the Japantown neighborhood of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Located at 604 Jackson Street, the store served as a social hub in Japantown, selling items such as kitchenware, household goods, Japanese and western fabrics, and dried foods imported from Japan.
“Meet Me at Higo” invites younger generations to connect with and explore what it means to be Japanese American. The exhibit features an impressive range of personal photos, journals and artifacts, such as reproductions of letters between Sanzo Murakami and his daughter Aya during World War II, when Sanzo was held at the INS Building; and a reproduction of the 1936 diary of daughter Chiyoko “Chiyo” Murakami, who documented her life and the community in Nihonmachi, or Japantown, shortly before she died of tuberculosis.
Through such artifacts, the exhibit also reveals the impact Executive Order 9066 had on King County's Japanese-American residents. In 1942, the Murakami family was forcibly removed from their home and business to the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho, where they were among more than 125,000 individuals incarcerated. The family returned to reopen their business and rebuild their lives at the end of the war.
The store, now called KOBO at Higo, still exists and is located at its original location in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.
To help visitors explore themes in the exhibit, librarians at The Seattle Public Library have created a “Meet Me at Higo” resource list that includes books and websites on topics such as the Japanese-American incarceration, the history of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District and more.
Find more information about the exhibit at https://www.spl.org/Higo.
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Contact the Library’s Ask Us service by phone at 206-386-4636 or by email or chat at http://www.spl.org/Ask. Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information.