Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Aaahhh! A little breathing room: the first step toward stabilization begins with the trees

ABOVE: The team from Tsuzuki Tree Services, based in Fountain Valley, in the process of trimming away branches next to the Depression-era 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force wish to acknowledge and thank Mike Tsuzuki, Tsuzuki Tree Service---based in Fountain Valley, California---for the contribution of over $10,000 in tree trimming services to help with the first step toward the stabilization of the structures at Historic Wintersburg.  The expertise and generosity of this Orange County, California business is helping save a National Treasure historic place!


LEFT: Mike Tsuzuki (right), owner of Tsuzuki Tree Service and resident of Fountain Valley, and his team leader, Leonel Granado, a resident of Santa Ana. Leonel marked is 30-year anniversary working with Mike on the day they were at Historic Wintersburg.  The two recently traveled to Japan together with their families, and talked to us about the historic places and gardens they had visited.  We were fortunate to be introduced to a team that truly cares about the history and recognizes the potential of Historic Wintersburg. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   Early in the morning on June 8, 2016---with permission from the property owner Republic Services / Rainbow Environmental Services---the team from Tsuzuki Tree Service began removing branches that were next to or touching the historic structures. The tree branches can add weight to century-old roofs or hold moisture next to buildings, which puts historic structures at risk for deterioration.  
 
RIGHT: Tsuzuki Tree Service team leader, Leonel Granado (far left), and the hard working crew who trimmed and removed over two full truck loads of chipped tree material from Historic Wintersburg. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   Problematic tree branches and brush were removed from areas around the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Mission, the 1910 Manse (parsonage), the 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church, the 1912 Furuta bungalow, and the Furuta barn (1908-1912).  The work was conducted around five of the six historic structures at Historic Wintersburg (during this particular work, no tree trimming was conducted around the 1947 Furuta ranch house).

LEFT: The 1910 Manse, getting a "haircut"!  This image is midway through the stabilization work. At the end of the day, a foot or more of heavy plant material was removed from the roof---filling a truck-size bin---and the tree branches cleared. The little Manse is feeling the sunshine on her back once again. The first couple to live in the Manse in 1910 was Reverend Joseph Inazawa and his wife, Kate Goodman. At the time of World War II, the family of Reverend Sohei Kowta were living in the Manse until the 1942 forced removal and confinement of the clergy and congregation of the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church.  The majority were American citizens and were incarcerated at the Colorado River Relocation Center in Arizona.  Reverend Kowta's son, Tadashi Kowta, visited the Manse at Historic Wintersburg in 2013 and the Kowta family are generous supporters of the preservation effort. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

RIGHT: An example of the equipment brought by Tsuzuki Tree Service. Two large chipper-bin trucks were used, the trimmings efficiently chipped as they worked, and the chippings taken across the street to the Rainbow Environmental waste transfer station (they waived the fee for this work on their property). Tsuzuki Tree Service filled multiple truck-size bins during the work. (Photo courtesy of M. Bixby, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   "Stabilization" is defined as the act or process of applying measures to sustain the existing form, integrity and material of a building or structure.  It can include initial stabilization work and ongoing maintenance of historic structures.  

LEFT: The view from the porch of the 1910 Manse, toward the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission (at right) and 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church (center) during stabilization work. The dense tree growth next to and on the structures removed, the small courtyard area is once again filled with light. The 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church was constructed during the Great Depression through the efforts of the local farming community, even while Church funds were frozen by the bank.  After its construction, the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Manse was used for Sunday school, meetings and events. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   The next steps in stabilization for the structures at Historic Wintersburg is fumigation and removal of some debris or materials within the structures (with careful observation for any materials or artifacts that can be used for historical interpretation or future exhibits).  

RIGHT:  Tsuzuki Tree Service team leader, Leonel Granado, on the roof of the 1910 Manse (parsonage) during the tree trimming work. Property owner Republic Services / Rainbow Environmental Services provided bins, in addition to the large chipper trucks brought to Historic Wintersburg by Tsuzuki Tree Service. Leonel is in a harness and prior to this image was up in the tree tops next to the Manse. He also removed branches overhanging Nichols Street as an additional public safety measure. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force is looking for fumigation services who would like to help save a National Treasure historic place, with experience working in and around historic structures.  Please contact us via the email contact listed on this blog, right side of the page, or via our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Historic-Wintersburg-Preservation-Task-Force-433990979985360/.

LEFT: The team from Tsuzuki Tree Service working to remove tree branches near the Furuta barn, just south of the 1912 Furuta bungalow. The barn is thought to have been constructed between the time of the property's purchase in 1908 and the construction of the Furuta bungalow in 1912. It was used for both the goldfish farming pre WWII and for flower farming post-WWII confinement. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   Additional thanks go to Orange County residents Marvin Masuda (a cousin of Task Force member, Dennis Masuda, and son of WWII veteran Mas Masuda) and Glenn Tanaka, Tanaka Farms. Their efforts led to our introduction to Mike Tsuzuki.  We're also grateful to our field representative from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Kevin Sanada, who helped brief Mike Tsuzuki in advance of stabilization work and joined us at Historic Wintersburg the day of the stabilization work.  We also thank Peyton Hall, with Historic Resources Group, who inspected Historic Wintersburg in 2014 and provided an expert report regarding necessary stabilization actions.

RIGHT: One of the Tsuzuki Tree Service team members hauling branches near the Furuta barn, just west of an adjacent residential building in the Oak View neighborhood off Emerald Lane and Fir Drive. The nopales, or prickly pear cactus that now cover the land were planted in recent years by employees of Rainbow Environmental. Beginning in the 1920s, this area of the Furuta farm was filled with goldfish ponds. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 8, 2016) © All rights reserved.

   Our deepest thanks! The work of historic preservation cannot happen without community support demonstrated by the generosity of people like Mike Tsuzuki, Tsuzuki Tree ServiceThank you for being a preservation hero and helping us save a National Treasure!

ADDITIONAL FEATURE: Read more about the recent media briefing and this first-step stabilization effort via the Rafu Shimpo at http://www.rafu.com/2016/07/property-owner-of-historic-wintersburg-site-committed-to-preservation/

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.    

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Kazuo Masuda VFW Post 3670 Memorial Day

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ABOVE: A 21-gun salute in honor of all fallen veterans at the VFW Post 3670 Kazuo Masuda Memorial Day program at Westminster Memorial Park. (Video, May 30, 2016 M. Urashima) © All rights reserved.

   Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach author and preservation task force chair, Mary Urashima, was asked to speak at the annual  Kazuo Masuda Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3670 program on Memorial Day.  It is an honor to be part of this day, recognizing the remarkable men and women fallen in their service to our country.  This event---which bears the name of Congressional Gold Medal and Distinguished Service Cross recipient Kazuo Masuda---honors, in particular, the Nisei soldiers of World War II and all service men and women who have fallen in the line of duty.

   An excerpt of her remarks:

   "...This is a chapter of our country’s history we are reminded of today, as we stand near the grave of Kazuo Masuda, whose family was incarcerated during the time of his service.  Four of the Masuda brothers served during World War II.  Kazuo was awarded posthumously in 1945 the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action.

RIGHT: Marvin Masuda (second from left) lays flowers at the grave of Kazuo Masuda, with his father, Masuo Masuda (center). Masuo Masuda is the brother of Kazuo Masuda and also a WWII veteran.  Both were Huntington Beach High School graduates. (Photo, M. Urashima, May 30, 2016, Westminster Memorial Park) © All rights reserved.

    On July 6, 1944, when his observation post became the target of heavy mortar and artillery fire, Staff Sergeant Masuda crawled 200 yards to the mortar section, secured a mortar tube and ammunition, and returned to the observation post.  

   Using his helmet as a base plate, he single-handedly directed fire at the enemy for 12 hours, repulsing two enemy counter-attacks.                         

   A month a half later, on August 27, 1944, he voluntarily led two men on a night patrol across the Arno River and through the heavily-mined and booby-trapped north bank.  Hearing movements, he ordered his men to cover him while he crawled forward. He discovered that they had been surrounded.   
   
   Kazuo Masuda ordered his men to withdraw while he engaged the enemy.  At the sacrifice of his life, he enabled them to escape.  Kazuo Masuda’s family would hear of his death, while confined at Gila River.

LEFT: A news clipping from 1945 announces the War Relocation Authority had taken "steps to end threats against a West Coast Japanese American girl who has four brothers with honorable army service records."  The article is paired with another article noting the reception received by a northern California Japanese American family attempting to return home after WWII confinement.  Acts of violence and vandalism toward Japanese Americans were widely reported and the return home was difficult, for those who chose to return to their prior home. Many lost their properties or chose not to return after WWII confinement.        
    
   The return of the Masuda family to Orange County in 1945 was not easy. Kazuo’s sister, Mary Masuda was confronted with threats of violence. Hearing this, the War Relocation Authority issued a national bulletin against such acts, reminding the public these were American families returning home. 
   
   General Joe Stillwell, determined to make a statement, traveled to the Masuda’s farmhouse in Talbert to present posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross.  It was on the front page of the Los Angeles Herald on December 9, 1945, and carried by the news reels of the day.  With General Stillwell, was a young Army captain, Ronald Reagan.

RIGHT: A Nisei military honor guard holding American flags flanks the entrance to the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church as the Masuda family departs the memorial service for Westminster Memorial Park in 1948. This was three years after leaving confinement at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona and three years after Mary Masuda confronted threats of violence during her attempt to return home to Orange County. (Photo snip courtesy of Dennis Masuda) © All rights reserved.  
   
   As a historian, I have written about the Masuda family’s story and the impact it had in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act.  He remembered the Masudas from that December day in 1945.  This was an American family, in the farm country of Orange County, whose story would resonate all the way to the White House.  
   
   It would be several years before Kazuo Masuda could be brought home to rest.  Finally, in 1948, the family and community were able to memorialize this hero who had walked on.   
   
   The funeral services were held with a full house in the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church with a Nisei military honor guard, before proceeding here, to the Westminster Memorial Park, to this place where we are today.   
   
   Looking at the photographs of that day, I am struck by the dignity, sadness and pride I see in the faces of those gathered to honor him.  It is what we feel here today

LEFT: The Congressional Gold Medal awarded posthumously to Kazuo Masuda and other Nisei soldiers of World War II. Kasuo Masuda is one of twelve Nisei soldiers featured in the Smithsonian Institute's 2016 digital exhibit, The Nisei Soldier: Congressional Gold Medal, http://cgm.smithsonianapa.org/ The Smithsonian explains, "This exhibition presents the extraordinary life stories of 12 Nisei soldiers who served in the US Armed Forces in World War II. While some had families in America’s concentration camps, all served with a highly uncommon and commendable sense of patriotism and honor. This is their American story."  
   
   The story of Kazuo Masuda continues to resonate seven decades after his death, as he is one of twelve Nisei soldiers featured in the Smithsonian Institute’s new exhibit on Congressional Gold Medal recipients, of whom Kazuo Masuda is one.    
   
   We gather on Memorial Day to remember those who have fallen during their service to our country, those who have walked on during the past two and a half centuries.  As is the nature of America, their service was not easy and not always understood.  Not all have received the hero’s welcome they deserve.

RIGHT: The Japanese American soldiers of World War II are one of the few military groups who have not been honored with a U.S. postal stamp, yet they remain the highest decorated units of all time. Learn more at Stamp Our Story, http://niseistamp.org/

   There are generations of soldiers and families of soldiers who have persevered when the political climate made that difficult.  We live in a time when manners and respect seems to have faded.

   This brings me back to what I was taught by my parents in my childhood.  It is the message conveyed by General Stillwell in 1945 and President Reagan in 1988.  It is still timely today, it is a message we still should be teaching our children, and the message I wish to close with.  
     
   On Memorial Day, we remember the fallen. Those who have walked on.  What we must remember is they walk past us every day.  Stand.  Show respect.  Cheer for them. Every day.  These are heroes."

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.   

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kazuo Masuda Memorial Day program, May 30

ABOVE: A photograph of SSgt. Kazuo Masuda in the foreground, an honor guard prepares for a salute at last year's Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Memorial Day Service at Westminster Memorial Park. (Photo, M. Urashima) © All rights reserved.

    Kazuo Masuda is one of twelve Nisei soldiers featured in the Smithsonian Institute's 2016 digital exhibit, The Nisei Soldier: Congressional Gold Medalhttp://cgm.smithsonianapa.org/  He was awarded posthumously both the Distinguished Service Cross in 1945 and, more recently, the Congressional Gold Medal

    Kazuo Masuda is honored each year at the Kazuo Masuda Memorial VFW Post 3670, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Memorial Day Service at Westminster Memorial Park, Orange County, California.  This year, Historic Wintersburg will be part of the program, with comments by the preservation task force chair Mary Urashima.

   The Masuda family are part of the history of the Wintersburg Mission, congregants who traveled from their farm in Talbert (Fountain Valley) to attend services and carnivals on the Furuta farm.  One of the Masuda descendants serves on the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, providing first-hand historical insight for the efforts to save a National Treasure historical place.  This family's history is one of the reasons Historic Wintersburg is considered nationally significant.  It is part of the history that we work to preserve for future generations.


RIGHT: From a traveling exhibit held at a veterans' organization in Maui, Hawaii, in 2014, an image of General Joe Stillwell presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Mary Masuda, on behalf of Kazuo Masuda, on the steps of the Masuda family farm house in Talbert, December 1945. (Photo, M. Urashima) © All rights reserved.

    The Masuda family history is linked to one of our country's monumental civil liberties moments: the authorization of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, during which President Ronald Reagan talks specifically about the Masuda family and the heroics of SSgt. Kazuo Masuda, of the "Go For Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Company F.  Their story can be found here: http://historicwintersburg.blogspot.com/2012/06/masudas-national-civil-liberties-icons.html
 

LEFT: The Los Angeles Herald featured General Joe Stillwell's visit to the Masuda family on their front page. Newsreel media covered the event, at which a young Army captain--Ronald Reagan--accompanied Gen. Stillwell, to present posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross. (Image, Los Angeles Herald, December 9, 1945)

   Four of the Masuda brothers served in the U.S. military during World War II, while their family remained incarcerated, first at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas, later at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona.  Gensuke Masuda, the family patriarch and a farmer in Talbert, was taken and interrogated by the FBI the night of the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor.  He had been in America for over 40 years.  

   Seen as a community leader for his involvement with the Wintersburg Japanese Mission and due to his success as a farmer, Gensuke Masuda's hard work and efforts to establish his family in America now moved against him.  Kazuo Masuda--already in the U.S. Army--wrote letters on behalf of his father, asking for his release and noting his father's devotion to America, "I believe he has done his part in making it the great nation that we are."

   Killed in action in Italy, in 1944, it would take several years before Kazuo Masuda would come home to rest. Finally, in 1948, the family and community were able to memorialize a hero who had walked on.  The funeral services were held with a full house in the Wintersburg Japanese Church with a Nisei military honor guard and Japanese American clergy, before proceeding to the Westminster Memorial Park.   Those in attendance knew of the long, painful journey by the Masuda family.  Many had shared the same journey.

   In 1988, President Ronald Reagan would remember Kazuo Masuda and his family, remarking, "America stands unique in the world, the only country not founded on race, but ...an ideal. Not in spite of, but because of our polyglot background, we have had all the strength in the world. That is the American way."

RIGHT: The funeral procession for Kazuo Masuda in 1948, enroute to the Westminster Memorial Park. Originally prohibited from burial in an area with grass and trees due to "restrictive covenants" which barred persons who were not of Caucasian ancestry, public pressure on behalf of the hero reversed the Park's decision. The annual Memorial Day service is held near his grave. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Masuda) © All rights reserved.

  On Monday, Memorial Day 2016, we remember and honor Kazuo Masuda and those who have fallen during their service to our country. We honor their families, who--even in the best of times--must bear the absence and loss of loved ones.  We reflect on the sacrifice of generations of Americans.  We show the respect due to all who serve.

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.