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We have much to be thankful for!
The year 2020 will probably go down in history as one that tested our national identity in unprecedented ways.  You know them all.  But for future readers who can use a reminder, here are some of the words fueling our existential angst:  the pandemic, quarantines, George Floyd, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, recession, layoffs, income inequality, wildfires, climate change and a vicious election season. 
For the Mukai Farm & Garden, the challenges of 2020 meant a 50% reduction in our budget, required by the reality that most of our traditional sources of revenue were greatly curtailed.  And at the same time, the power of our volunteers and community partners has sustained and strengthened Mukai as a cultural gathering place and a living tribute to immigrant struggle and social justice.  

We are particularly pleased to announce that Mukai Farm and Garden has been honored by King County Executive Dow Constantine with the John D. Spellman Award for Exemplary Achievement in Historic Preservation in the Restoration category. This award recognizes our exemplary achievement in restoring Kuni Mukai’s garden at the Mukai Farm and Garden on Vashon Island. 
As we prepare our 2020-style Thanksgiving celebrations, maybe in smaller groups, maybe on Zoom, we are thankful.  We are thankful to Vashon businesses who supported our virtual Japan Festival.  We are thankful for the Vashon-Maury Heritage Museum for their ongoing programming partnership.  We thank King County 4Culture for their financial support.  We thank our community donors, large and small, who dug into their pockets even when they had less to give than before.  We have made it through, and we are all stronger than ever.  
Happy Thanksgiving!
PS: Be on the lookout for our end of year letter - coming to your door and inbox just after the Thanksgiving holiday!
Heisuke and Yoneichi Matsuda, 1957
1945: The Return
by Bruce Haulman, Joe Okimoto & Rita Brogan
The year 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the end of WWII and the closure of the concentration camps where West Coast Japanese Americans were exiled and imprisoned. Only about one third of the Vashon residents who were forcibly removed on May 16, 1942, returned to Vashon.
On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1945, Augie Takatsuka returned to Vashon, catching the last ferry to Tahlequah, and then hitching a ride home with the only car on the ferry. For the next three months he lived with his parents and sisters, “doing nothing,” He would often wake his parents and sisters with his “horrible nightmares.” Encouraged by a friend, Augie finally leased land across from where McMurray Middle School is today and returned to farming. He was able to purchase his farm on Bank Road when Rose Gorsuch offered to sell him twenty-seven acres at $50 down and $50 a year.  Augie said Rose Gorsuch was “our protector, ahead of her time …” 
Asked why he returned to Vashon, Augie commented, “I couldn’t find any place that was as good as here …”
Augie was one of the last of the Vashon Island Japanese Americans to return from the exile and imprisonment of Island Japanese Americans during World War II. After enlisting in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team from the prison camp at Tule Lake, Augie was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for basic training. In late 1943 he was sent to Italy and fought through the Gothic Line north of Florence. From there, the 442nd was sent to The Champagne Campaign, which invaded southern France. Hospitalized three different times for trench foot, Augie was finally relieved of combat service and served the remainder of the War in France as part of the Quartermaster Corps stabling horses and mules for the Army.
Augie Takatsuka
Before WWII, there were 132 Japanese Americans living in 31 households on Vashon Island. Some 17 of those individuals left before evacuation for college, the military, or jobs off island. The 4 members of the Mukai Family pre-empted the evacuation by self-exiling outside the Exclusion Zone just before Executive Order 9022 took effect. On May 16, 1942, the remaining 111 Japanese Americans were gathered at Ober Park, shipped to Seattle, and forced onto railcars with blackened windows for days.  Destination and fate unknown.
All of the exiled Vashon Japanese Americans were initially sent to the euphemistically named “Pinedale Processing Center”, in the California desert.  Pinedale was really a temporary prison until the permanent concentration camps could be built. After three months at Pinedale, the Vashon residents were all moved to Tule Lake Relocation Camp, another euphemism for a concentration camp. When Tule Lake was transformed in February 1943 into an Isolation Camp for individual prisoners deemed to be disloyal, most of the islanders were distributed among six other prison camps throughout the nation: to Gila River, Arizona; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Jerome, Arkansas; Minidoka, Idaho; Rohwer, Arkansas; and Topaz, Utah. This forced diaspora effectively shattered the cohesion of the Vashon Japanese American community. Some Island families were moved to as many as five different camps during the next three years. World War II came to an end on September 2, 1945. The concentration camps began to close in October and November and the prisoners were released to return home or to settle in other locations where they had job opportunities or family. Tule Lake did not close until May 1946 but the Vashon prisoners who had remained at Tule Lake were release in the Fall of 1945.
That Autumn of 1945, 46 individuals in 12 family groups returned to Vashon to pick up their  lives and try to rebuild the farms they were forced to leave three-and-one-half years earlier. The names of those families are familiar names to many islanders. The Mukai Family returned from self-exile and reopened the Barreling Plant. The Fujioka Family, the Nishiyori Family, and the Otsuka Family returned from Heart Mountain. The Yoshimura Family returned from Topaz. The Hoshi Family, the Kamimoto Family, the Matsuda Family, the Matsumoto Family, the Takatsuka Family, and the Usui Family returned from Minidoka. Two single older men, Tomenoshon Ishikawa (80) and Yasutaro Kuroda (64), returned from Tule Lake.

We should all take a moment to pause and reflect on the events of three quarters of a century ago and pledge “NEVER AGAIN.” 
Otsuka Family at Hart Mountain, 1944
Winter Warmers: Hot libations for Cozy Social Distancing
Monday, November 30th ~ 12:00pm, $25pp
Cheryl & Lia's instructor fees generously donated to an island non-profit

Looking for something other than eggnog this season? Inspired by the Nashi Orchards mission of passionately pursuing delicious libations, Cheryl Lubbert of Nashi Orchards and Lia Lira of Bramble House will demonstrate how to use a variety of aromatics to make a selection of hot spiced drinks perfect for the Holiday season. The course will cover different variations on mulled wine, spiced cider, and hot spiced Asian Pear perry, using both familiar spices as well as some you might not yet know. We will also discuss how to adapt the recipes into non-alcoholic concoctions.
Board Spotlight: Fred Harriman
Mukai Board member Fred Harriman is a linguist and an educator who has lived with his wife Takayo on Vashon since 2015. Over the 17-year period that he and his family lived in Hamamatsu, Japan, he worked as a translator, interpreter, business liaison, and radio announcer. After moving back to the US in 1994, Fred worked in legal, business, and government settings interpreting for personages such as President Obama and Senator Daniel Inouye. He currently serves as the Chair of the Education and Research Committee of Friends of Mukai.  In addition to being a vital member of the Mukai board, he is a certified and registered interpreter for court procedures, and continues to contract with the US Department of State for assignments in government and military settings. He also does pro bono work for family law matters involving Japanese spouses and advocates for Japanese language learning opportunities. 
Technical Equipment Wanted
As we hunker down and engage in more virtual experiences, Mukai is in need of equipment to stream some of the classes and other programs in the near future. If you have a HD webcam, USB mic, or lighting kit that are in working condition, please consider donating it to us so that we may stream our programming to the interwebs.
Copyright © 2020 Mukai Farm & Garden, All rights reserved.

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