Remembering Akio Suyematsu, our locally grown hero

Akio Suyematsu

Following his passing in 2012, the City of Bainbridge Island proclaimed August 19 “Akio Suyematsu Day” in honor of this iconic farmer. Akio Suyematsu was the last of the original Japanese American Bainbridge Island berry farmers, who created an agricultural and community legacy on a working landscape second to none in the Puget Sound region. His life’s work has kept alive a taste of Bainbridge for over nine decades and inspired generations of local farmers. Read the proclamation here… Suyematsu Day Proclamation

archive photos againn-7

Akio as a young man with family dog Jackie.

Akio Suyematsu was the last of the original berry farmers on Bainbridge Island, who put Bainbridge on the map as Island the strawberry capital of the Pacific Northwest.  He was also one of the first Japanese Americans to be forcibly removed and incarcerated during WWII.  Out of his experience of exclusion, Akio Suyematsu’s Farm has become the largest and oldest farm in the region, and one of the most inclusive places on Bainbridge Island. His life’s work is a living memorial to a Japanese American farmer “who against all odds cultivated a legacy that will live forever.”

Akio Suyematsu’s Obituary can be found at the Bainbridge Review:

Photos from the Celebration of Akio Suyematsu’s life, August 19, 2012:
Photos & video by Debbi Lester
Photos by Rick Gordon
Photos & video by Vern Nakata

Articles about the celebration:
Islanders gather this weekend to pay respect to iconic farmer- Bainbridge Island Review
Islanders turn out to honor memory of influential farmer- Kitsap Sun

Carrying a Message, Bainbridge Island Review, March 22, 2012
What would you carry with you – if you only had six days to pack a bag for yourself and your family, headed to a remote location, for an unknown period of time? What would you bring? (Read more)


Click Here for a video presentation & tour on the Suyematsu Family from OWWCC & EduCulture Director Jon Garfunkel on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese American Exclusion on Bainbridge Island, WA

Read more about Historic Suyematsu Farm and Homestead

Historic Suyematsu Farm