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Ebb and Flow   (See our Facebook Page for Show Times & Locations!)

  Ebb and Flow A Japanese-American family, an oyster. and how they influenced Pacific Northwest History.

This film follows 93yr old Jerry (Eiichi) Yamashita’s recounting of the family history to his son Patrick, around a campfire on their shellfish tidelands. Relying on Jerry’s memory and rare archival footage, we are taken on a journey spanning 3 generations, beginning with Jerry’s father Masahide’s immigration from Tokyo to Seattle in 1900. Arriving with nothing but the clothes on his back and an irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit, his many years of seemingly unending struggle, are revealed. Eventually, his talent for problem solving would play a pivotal role in saving the west coast shellfish farming industry from complete collapse in 1930, with a Japanese Oyster.

Just when things were beginning to look up for the Yamashita family, WWII intervened. All the years of hard work and sacrifice for America didn’t prevent them from being split up and shipped off to, two different internment camps. When the war ended the family returned to begin rebuilding their lives again from scratch. Masahide would eventually go on to be recognized as one of the founding fathers of the Pacific Northwest’s most important and largest shellfish farming institutions. Carrying on in his father’s footsteps, today son Jerry is considered an icon by his peers, beloved by all who know him for his generosity and always cheerful outlook, that belies all the injustice his family has experienced throughout their lives.

The Japanese Oyster, renamed the Pacific Oyster, is now considered the premiere oyster by top chiefs throughout North America and it is also serving as mother shell in a progressive program attempting to restore the depleted native Olympia Oyster populations. This Japanese/American family’s story is an inspiring one, and at the same time, a cautionary tale of how a society can turn against its immigrants in challenging times. Indeed, had the young Masahide not come to America, the thriving Pacific Northwest shellfish industry might look very different today.


See our Ebb and Flow Interview:

NPR Regionally aired the “Ebb and Flow” story on City of Dreams in the Pacific NW to 1/2 a million listeners.

NPR Nationally aired a Ebb and Flow story on the syndicated program Here and Now through 450 stations to 4.5 million listeners.

Ocean Conservancy did a feature article on “Ebb and Flow”

An assortment of WA state articles about “Ebb and Flow”

Front Page Feature

Other articles


An ironic truth of being a journalist is that the richer a real-life story is, the harder it is to tell properly, which makes Solomon and Cornwell’s film “Ebb and Flow” all the more impressive. This is a film juggling a number of subjects and moods, but the filmmakers bring their decade of experience in documentaries to bear, creating a holistic piece out of potentially disparate elements.

—Kirk Boxleitner - Reporter - PT Leader Newspaper

Well-done, beautiful story!

—Miki Ebara
Editor-in-Chief, NEWSLINE
World News, NHK World Department

What an amazing story! It was done with such honesty, sensitivity, and heart! I urge EVERYONE to see this important film.

—Rosie Zwanziger– Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Elder

Ebb and Flow is a heartfelt portrait of an extraordinary man, a pioneering oyster farmer and a devoted parent. It’s a multi-generational tale that pays tribute to the toilers of the intertidal— whose efforts benefit everyone who loves shellfish or values clean water and the well-being of Puget Sound.

—David George Gordon, Author, Heaven on the Half Shell

“Ebb and Flow” is the finest documentary on the story of a Japanese-American family I have seen to date.

—David Yamaguchi, North American Post Newspaper, Seattle

“Ebb and Flow" is a true example of a genius documentary that exemplifies how the will to survive and recreate oneself is possible. My producing film for television on true stories, and also being a journalist and oyster lover opened my curiosity to the genre. This family love story coupled with their immigration, the war, and willingness to start over with a business that would propel, makes this a powerful film in today's climate. A Must See-Five Star Rating.”

—Larry Garrison
Silver Creek Entertainment

This is a story about a man with soft voice, an iron will, and descended from Samurai stock. The film depicts a family with a tradition of hard work and overcoming adversity. It underscores the concept of knowing when you are right, then going ahead and sticking to your guns. Fighting the good fight and never giving in whether the challenge comes from racial prejudice, environmental challenge or financial difficulty. It is a story of a unique version of the American Dream and a film that is both moving and instructive.

—Hal Beattie
Silver Creek Entertainment

Ebb and Flow is a touching and beautifully filmed tribute to our father's story of hardship, hard work, and his family's hand in bringing the Japanese oyster to the US. The historical footage nicely fleshed out, in images, what we had only been told in stories during our youth. Most affecting were the spontaneous, emotional interactions captured between Dad and his longtime friends and colleagues. It’s gratifying for us to see that others recognize what a remarkable man we have had the privilege to learn from and to be raised by.

— Yamashita Family

A beautiful life story with environmental, historical, and cultural significance.

— Wendy Lane, Wenatchee WA

Ebb and Flow is an appropriate title for this film. The timing of moving forward…falling back, while making forward progress gave a rhythm to the events unfolded on the screen. I, the child of immigrant parents, felt an immediate personal connection with this film. As the historical events spooled out through the conversation between the Yamashita’s; I felt a connection to my parents and their hardships. The intimate conversation between father and son was touching and provided teaching moments. The universal threads of family, commitment, work, disappointments, acceptance and perseverance were woven into a rich tapestry of human goodness, selflessness and strength. The film is about “making lemonade out of lemons”. It is an American immigrant story. It is a current story. In the present, immigrants who appear to be Middle Eastern or Mexican, experience uncertainty and fear, just like the Japanese, who were forced to move into the relocation camps in 1942. The film also honors the respectful stewardship of our earth and sea; to insure the survival of the oyster, symbolic of food we need for life.

Skillfully created and edited by Leaping Frog Films. I was engaged from the moment it started to its sensitive and sticking ending. A must see for all ages!!

— Sylvia Domoto

Ebb and Flow will overwhelm you with emotion and inspiration, all at the same time! The film was beautifully and sensitively compiled, sprinkled with amazing archival footage to bring the story to life. Ebb and Flow left me with hope that individually/collectively, we can make our dreams come true even in the toughest of times, if we work together.

— Sherry Mizuta

Ebb and Flow is an incredible movie that illustrates the contributions of the Yamashita family on the Washington shellfish industry. We are humbled by their perseverance and grateful to them for bringing the heritage of Pacific oysters to the west coast

— Bill Taylor, Taylor Shellfish Farms

Ebb and Flow was a joy to watch and though there was sadness, loss, great strife, there was still hope, kindness, and strength, all magnificently produced, culminating in an extraordinary documentary!

— Judy Garvey and Noriko Izumi

Ebb and Flow is truly a remarkable story represented through historical photos, father-son interviews, and PNW shellfish industry highlights. Watching Jerry Yamashita slurp oysters on the beach, in a prominent Seattle restaurant, and hot off the grill is mouth watering. If the historical significance of his Japanese-American roots doesn't bring a tear to your eyes, the loving memories and appreciations shared by his fellow oyster growers certainly will.

— Debi Beagle – Frye Cove Farms

“Ebb and Flow” is a uniquely personal history of the Yamashita family, Puget Sound, and the vital influence individuals can have on the ecosystem and economy of a region over the course of a century. By capturing the story of the Elder Yamashita relating to his son the family history of shell fish farming, the family history in the Japanese-American experience in Washington State, and his own deep love for the pacific oyster, “Ebb and Flow” presents its audience with the ability to join that experience with emotion and candor. Having grown up in the areas of the Sound from which this documentary is grown, I find my own history and culture richer for the experience of having viewed this film.

— Tom Graham - Government and administrative law attorney, Olympia

“Ebb and Flow” is a story of a three-generation Japanese American family, known and loved as pioneers in Washington’s shellfish industry. Their story spans the early days of the industry, the decline of the native oyster, and their family's instrumental role in introducing the Pacific oyster to the United States. Throughout the decades, while growing their own oysters/clams and enduring various other challenges, they also contended with the struggles of maintaining healthy shellfish beds and keeping pollution at bay.

This is a personal story steeped in the natural resources that define the Pacific northwest and framed by historic events of the last century, including WWII, and the internment of Japanese Americans. Leaping Frog Films has created a beautiful, well researched, well told story that does honor to the Yamashita family and also gives a glimpse of a larger community of people working together to hold onto healthy shellfish resources. Jerry Yamashita has been a shining light for many of us, and this film rightly shines a big light on his life’s story.”

— Betsy Peabody - Puget Sound Restoration Fund

What an epic film!

— Kris Barton – Shellfish Farmer

Few pioneers of the West Coast oyster industry remain with us today. Jerry Yamashita stands tall as a living legend who serves as a role model for today’s shellfish growers. Ebb and Flow eloquently tells the important story of the man, his family, and the significant role they played in the introduction of the Pacific/Japanese oyster, the molluscan bivalve main-stay.

— Duane Fagergren - Calm Cove Oyster Co.

Ebb and Flow brings a timely, emotional perspective on the West Coast industry from the lips of a local legend. The way Jerry and his family overcame difficulties during in a troubled period of American history is inspiring. The documentary is a fascinating window into the Japanese-American experience on the Pacific coast.

— Motoy Kuno-Lewis

Ebb and Flow is wonderful movie rich in history. It was a very good reminder that one person or one family can make such a difference in the world when they truly believe in something. Ebb and Flow takes you from Tokyo to Purdy, through Tule Lake internment camp, and back to Purdy again, and they still had the desire to continue on with their work for the oyster and enriching the Pacific Northwest. The extent that Leaping Frog Films went to capture the story of the Yamashita family is truly amazing. When a documentary brings you to tears is a true testament to the story tellers of a job well done!

— M & S Hamilton, Gold Bar, WA

Jerry is in my opinion is a real samurai, like his father and grandfather before him, strong, courageous, and with kind heart. His smile speaks a thousand words but he opens his mouth as rarely and barely as an oyster. We must read his lips. In Ebb and Flow we can enjoy his smile, which is as savory as a fresh oyster.

— Baiyu Mukai

Great film! I was particularly impressed by how Leaping Frog Films was able to combine several different subjects including the natural history of the Olympic oyster and their near demise through over harvest and pollution, the introduction of the Pacific oyster, and one Japanese-American family's struggles and determination that were so instrumental in building a viable, region wide, shellfish industry. Each of these threads inevitably contain negative aspects yet they were able to weave them together to create a well balanced and beautifully uplifting film centered around a truly admirable man

— Larry Sheria – Salmon Fisherman

What a lovely film and I see why it has been so well received everywhere. We are in an age where communication between young and old is at an all time low. Films like Ebb and Flow are a certain reminder of what we have to lose if we fail to take advantage of the wisdom of our elders.

— Linda Marie Yakush - Pane d'Amore Artisan Bakery

What a tribute to an amazing family, & also to a time in NW History! I just loved everything about it! Leaping Frog Films told a powerful & important story before it was too late. I honor them & Jerry’s family...

— Kathleen Waldron

Ebb and Flow is a beautifully paced, quiet, warm, meaningful film with so many layers to it. I'm still reflecting on many scenes and many words spoken. I am recommending it to friends around the country, hoping it might go national.

— Libby Palmer - Co-founder PT Marine Science Center

“Ebb and Flow” is a labor of love, as is the life of the man whom the film depicts. In his 90’s, he is a true bright light as a man who has fully loved his life--the challenges, the unending hard work, the satisfying relationships with fellow shellfish harvesters and the gift of family. Leaping Frog Films is to be commended for so creatively framing such a moving and satisfying story, and for piecing together so respectfully all the parts of a remarkable life of an honored northwestern legend.

— Jude Anderson – Therapist

I went to see Ebb and Flow thinking that I would learn about the Pacific oyster industry but I saw much more than that. I immediately became caught up in the story of a Japanese man who played a key role in saving the West Coast Oyster industry. I found myself in tears at the outpouring of affection he received from his colleagues and his relationships with his children. The film brought out many inspiring lessons, that are relevant today and into the future, we can all learn from. Beautifully put together by the filmmakers, a must see for anyone interested in Pacific NW history.

— Nancy Hulse

Leaping Frogs exquisite and artful "Ebb and Flow" far exceeded my vision of a documentary on the Yamashita/oyster story! Shelly and Kent are master storytellers!

— Ebb and Flow executive producer Robin Bessier

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