History & Dates


1615-1867     Tokugawa Period in Japan.  Absolute rule imposed;

                       internal harmony; isolation

1846               Commodore James Biddle attempts to open Japan to trade

c. 1846           B.D. Mukai’s grandfather is born, samurai family

1853                Commodore Matthew C. Perry arrives at Uraga and demands that

                       Japan open her ports to trade

1854                 Perry negotiates the Treaty of Kanagawa

1858-1868     Warring Factions Compete for Power

c. 1865            Mukai family home built in village of Hatashiro

c. 1866           B.D. Mukai’s father is born

1866            Thirty-two rebellions by farmers

1868-1912     Meiji Period: royal capitol moved to Tokyo;

                      Japan rapidly westernizes; acceptance of foreigners

1870                First conscription law

1871                 Samurai warriors voluntarily asked to give up wearing of swords

1876                 All warrior families ordered to transfer their income

                        into government bonds

1880                 Law issued which inaugurates system of cities and prefectures

1882                 Kuni Nakanishi Mukai is born, Yokohama

1886                 B.D. (Ben Den Ichido) Mukai is born, oldest son

                       of a samurai family

1887                 Sato Nakanishi Mukai is born, Yokohama

1890                 Women banned from attending political meetings

1894-95           War against China; severe political instability

1900                 B.D.’s brother Takatero is born

1902                 B.D. Mukai stows away, jumps ship in San Francisco

                        harbor (16 years old)

1904-05          War against Russia

 1942-1946    B.D. Mukai is travelling in Hong Kong at the outbreak

                       of the war, he goes to Japan; sees bombs dropped

                        on Japanese cities, almost starves to death

1946                 B.D. tries to return to U.S.; an illegal alien, he is

                       refused admittance, and Masa picks him up in Mexico

1968                 On a visit to Japan, B.D. gets sick and stays,

                       buys back and restores the Mukai family ancestral

                       home in Hatashiro

 1972                 B.D. Mukai dies in the village of his fathers

                        and is buried there; Masa, Chiyeko, Milton, and Clara

                        visit his grave soon after



1869                 9,000 Chinese are in America, working for the Central

                        Pacific Railroad

1877                 Rioting in San Francisco against Chinese; 25 laundries burned

1882                 Asian Exclusion Act closes immigration to Chinese and

                        prohibits Asians from owning land

1883                 Small family plot of strawberries grown on Vashon Island

1885                 Japan allows emigration to America

1890                 Anti-Japanese outbreaks in San Francisco

1890                 Strawberry farm of J.T. “Grandpa” Thompson established

                         on Vashon Island, Bank Road

1894                 Japanese Tea Garden opens in California Midwinter Exposition, San Francisco

1895                 6,596 crates of strawberries shipped off Vashon Island

c. 1897            Possible date of Kuni Mukai’s emigration to San Francisco

1900                12,700 Japanese in King County

1900                King County Republican Club calls for exclusion of Japanese from Seattle

1900                61,000 Japanese in Hawaii; 40% of the population

1901                 First five Japanese farmers come to Vashon Island

1901                 15,000 crates of strawberries shipped off of Vashon Island

1902                 B.D. Mukai jumps ship in San Francisco Bay, works for

                         a wealthy sheepherding family, learns English

1904                 Dr. Sturgis, employer of Kuni Mukai, opens office in Seattle

c. 1905             B.D. Mukai works as a police interpreter,

                         opens his own employment agency

1906                 SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE

1906                San Francisco announces all Japanese pupils in public

                         school system to be barred, must attend segregated schools

1906                Courts are ordered to stop granting citizenship rights to Japanese

1907-08         B.D., Sato, and Kuni Mukai arrive in Seattle; B.D. and Sato

                          open restaurant, Kuni goes to work as a housekeeper for Dr. Sturgis

1908                 Gentleman’s Agreement stops immigration of Japanese, except Picture Brides

1909                 Sato’s health deteriorates (she has tuberculosis); Mukais close

                         restaurant, B.D. goes to work for the Walter Bowen Company on Wholesale Row

1910                 B.D. and Sato move to Vashon Island, to the Mitchell Ranch on Vashon Highway

1911                 In a survey of 30 Japanese wives, 24 worked in the fields

1911                 Picture Brides cost $300-$400

1911                  On April 10, Masahiro (Masa) Mukai is born

1912                 Law to ban mixed marriages in Washington state is

                         proposed and defeated

1913                 The Mukai family leases land in Cove, a Scandinavian

                         community on Vashon Island

1913-1914      Crop Failures on Vashon Island

1917                 The Mukai family leases land on a farm near

                         Center, Vashon Island

1918-1924      B.D.’s younger brother Takatero Mukai comes to work on the farm

1918                 B.D. uses horses for field work

1919                 Seattle businessmen form Anti-Japanese League

1920               B.D., Sato, Masa, Takatero, and Kuni Mukai lease 60 acres,

                        the Taylor Brothers Farm

1920              Picture Brides immigration is stopped

1921                 Mukais use an “Indiana” tractor

1921                 Alien Land Law prohibits Japanese from renting or leasing land

1921                 In July, Mukais are barreling strawberries out in the field

                         to send to Seattle to be frozen, first in the region

1921                 Kantaro Okubo, Nisei on Vashon Island, loses his land

                        due to the Alien Land Law

1922                In May, Sato dies and there is a Buddhist memorial service,

                        her remains are sent back to Japan

1922                B.D. and Kuni are married

1922                In August, the family takes a trip to see the West

1923                 Katero, another brother of B.D., visits Vashon and buys

                         a $10,000 cow at Carnation Farms to take back to Japan

1923-24         B.D. uses Native American labor in the fields

1924                 Ban on Japanese immigration; Takatero must return to Japan

1926                 Masa buys the 40-acre farm and the

                         Fruit Barrelling Plant is constructed

1926-27          House, garden, barn, outbuildings constructed; in August,

                          the family travels to Mexico

1926-27          Vashon Island produces more strawberries, loganberries,

                          raspberries, and blackberries than any other comparable

                          area of King County

1928                 Family takes a trip to Yellowstone Park

1929                 October, stock market crashes and plunges the

                          country into the Depression

1929                 Second hill and stream added on the south side of the Mukai garden

1930                 First year Filipino labor is used for farmwork; by 1937,

                          they receive 15 cents per hour

                            Straw boss’ cabin is built next to the Fruit Barrelling Plant

1931                 Masa marries Mamie Kushi

1932                 Milton Mukai is born

1934                 Masa works with Dutch Diehl at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

                         to develop new freezing techniques

1935                 Family takes a trip to Mt. Baker, stays several weeks,

                         goes on to Grand Canyon

1936                 Masa and Mamie are divorced

1936                 New red brick office building is constructed, destroying

                         part of Kuni’s garden

1938                Masa and Chiyeko Wakasugi are married

1938                B.D. and Kuni Mukai are divorced; Masa takes

                         over management of the farm

1941                 December 7: Japan bombs Pearl Harbor

 1942                On February 19, Executive Order 9066 orders the evacuation

                         of all Japanese west of the Columbia River

 1942               In March, the Mukai family voluntarily evacuates to

                        spend the war in Idaho

 1942               The Japanese farm 56% of the agricultural land in

                        King County, Washington

 1945                Mukai family returns, begins farming, but labor is

                         disrupted, strawberry industry is in shambles

 1946                In desperation, Masa starts growing currants

1949                 By this year, strawberry industry has revived, and

                         Augie Takatsuka, Yoneichi Matsuda, Tok Otsuka, and

                        Jim Matsumoto are each producing around 100 tons

                        of strawberries on Vashon Island

1949                 Masa subdivides the farm and sells the house and garden

                       parcel; Kuni objects, tries to sue, but she is not a citizen

1950                 Barn is destroyed by fire

1952                 McCarran-Walters Act finally gives Japanese immigrants naturalization rights

                            Milton Mukai graduates from high school on Vashon Island

1955                 King County Washington is one of America’s 100 leading

                         strawberry producing counties

                             Bunkhouses deteriorate and fall down

1956                 Kuni Mukai dies

1957                 Masa takes out a new engineering license

1965                 Masa visits B.D. in Japan

1967                 Masa cannot get enough tonnage to keep operating the

                         Fruit Barrelling Plant; they open a Western Farmers Store

1968                 The Mukais sell the Fruit Barrelling Plant

1970                 Masa, Chiyeko, Milton, and Clara Mukai visit B.D. in Japan

1973                 On May 27, B.D. Mukai dies in Japan

1989                 Randall Wood buys the Fruit Barrelling Plant

1990                 Linda Brush buys the house and garden

1993                 Wood bulldozes a road on his easement and demolishes

                          half of the garden’s south island and stream

1993                 Both properties become King County landmarks and are

                         listed on the National Register of Historic Places, written by

                         Historic Preservation Consultant Mary J. Matthews

1994                 On June 25, Chiyeko Wakasugi Mukai dies

1997                 Masa marries June McCloskey

1999                 Masahiro Mukai dies, Tuesday October 26

2000                Island Landmarks takes possession of the farm and garden parcel

2006                 Properties are re-united when Matthews and her

                          husband J. Nelson Happy purchase the Fruit Barrelling Plant


© 2010 Mary J. Mathews. All Rights Reserved. “Mukai Farm and Garden: Chronology: Japan” and “Mukai Farm and Garden: Chronology: America” were written by Mary J. Matthews. These documents or any part thereof may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author.