Sunday, July 29, 2012

The marriage that made headlines

LEFT: Reverend Joseph K. Inazawa and his wife, the former Miss Kate Alice Goodman.  Reverend Inazawa served as the first clergy for the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission in 1910, and was described as a "man of highly pleasing personality."  Goodman was described as "possest of a delightful sense of humor." (Photograph courtesy of Wintersburg Presbyterian Church, circa 1912) ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

~Updated June 12, 2018~

   Imagine having your marriage examined on the front page of metropolitan newspapers across the country and around the world.  This was the case for the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission's first minister and his bride in the winter of 1910, the Reverend Joseph Kenichi Inazawa and Miss Kate Alice Goodman.  

   What caused all the commotion?  Neither of them was a wealthy land baron, railroad tycoon, or royalty.  Nor were they notorious for questionable politics or crimes.  Both were in their forties and had known each other for some time.  Theirs was a marriage between a respected Presbyterian clergyman and a long-time church worker that should have received a quiet announcement in the society section of the daily news.

   He was Japanese.  She was Caucasian.  And, their groundbreaking marriage triggered intense public fascination of the kind we see in today's celebrity media.  It was a public spotlight that would make anyone want to run for the hills...or maybe for the peatlands of Wintersburg.

RIGHT: The front page of the Los Angeles Herald headlined, "Church Worker Becomes A Bride of Japanese", and featured photographs of Reverend Inazawa and Kate Alice Goodman. The article included the written statement she provided before the couple eloped to New Mexico. (Los Angeles Herald, Sunday Morning, February 27, 1910)

Reverend Inazawa
   Born in the Iwami Province in Japan in 1863, Reverend Inazawa arrived in the United States in the late 1800s after attending seminary in Tokyo.  He performed his post-graduate work at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, graduating with the class of 1894.  The San Francisco Call reported he was one of two Japanese ordained at the annual Presbytery convocation in April 1896.  

   Prior to his work in Los Angeles, Inazawa worked as itinerant Presbyterian clergy throughout California, including in San Francisco, Salinas, Watsonville, and Santa Cruz.  The Japanese Presbyterian Church of Salinas, California (Lincoln Avenue) credits Inazawa with the establishment of the original mission in 1898, meeting above a blacksmith's shop.  By 1902, he had negotiated a land purchase for the mission. The present-day church's website describes Inazawa as "a rare person of integrity."

LEFT: Reverend Joseph Kenichi Inazawa was recorded as 46 years of age in the 1910 U.S. Census, the year he  and Miss Kate Goodman married. (Image, Los Angeles Times, April 13, 1909)

   Reverend Inazawa's biography for the San Francisco Theological Seminary alumni indicates he helped compile the selected poems, artwork and addresses for Spirit of Japan, dedicated to Dr. Ernest Adolphus Sturge, M.D., Ph.D.--a leader of the Japanese mission work on the West Coast for the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.--and translated a number of Presbyterian publications.  

   By 1902--the same year Presbyterian clergy began meeting Japanese farmers in Wintersburg--the Japanese Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles was forming.  Church records indicate Rev. Inazawa arrived in 1905, developing the Los Angeles group into a "regular Presbyterian congregation."  The Los Angeles Herald wrote Reverend Inazawa was fluent in English and the scriptures, and that he had been "actively identified with Presbyterian missions and churches" in the United States for twenty years.

Miss Kate Alice Goodman
   Kate Goodman was originally from New York, a University of Chicago graduate, and was described by the New York Tribune as coming from a "good New York family."  She is reported as working for nine years to help establish Japanese missions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Prior to the marriage, she had been teaching at a Japanese school in Moneta (Gardena, California).

   She and Reverend Inazawa met while "thrown together" teaching bible classes and they formed an "attachment."

RIGHT: Mrs. Inazawa, the former Miss Kate Alice Goodman.  The Herald described the couple as having a "long courtship." (Image, Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1910)

   Reports of the engagement between Reverend Inazawa and Kate Goodman in the spring of 1909 made news across the country and in other countries, including New Zealand's Evening Post.   The Olean Times (New York) reported that "Mr. Inazawa was greatly surprised when he learned his secret had leaked out but freely acknowledged the truth of the report."  Like anyone today wisely trying to avoid the paparazzi, Reverend Inazawa told the newspaper that no date had been set for the wedding ceremony.

   The Los Angeles Herald reported in 1910 that "Cupid was sent scampering away until she could read and investigate the advisability and probably consequences of such a union."  

   At 42 years old, Kate Goodman was not prone to the flowery language that the Herald used when writing about the two. 

LEFT: The Los Angeles Herald in dramatic early 20th Century journalistic form gushed a little about the Inazawa marriage. (Image, Los Angeles Herald, February 26, 1910)

    Knowing there was more than a little interest about their marriage, Kate Goodman prepared a written statement that was delivered to the Los Angeles Herald on February 23, as she and Reverend Inazawa left for Laguna, New Mexico to be married.*  The Herald reported her as telling friends, "Say for me that I am happy. I don't care what the world thinks.  Joseph and I are happy."

   Goodman's written statement can easily be interpreted into 21st Century language as, "We've got this.  Everything is fine."  There is a veiled admonishment to the media about sensationalizing the marriage.

RIGHT: Excerpt from the letter Kate Alice Goodman sent to the Los Angeles Herald, as she and Reverend Joseph K. Inazawa left for New Mexico to be married.  Their marriage was illegal in California.  (Image, Los Angeles Herald, February 27, 1910)
   Goodman writes, "When the marriage of two persons of humble circumstances is given space on the first page of a metropolitan daily the only inference to be drawn is that such marriage is regarded as sensational in character.  When the hitherto law abiding members of a community leave the state in order to consummate a legal marriage, a decent regard for the opinions of mankind would seem to warrant a word of explanation..."

   "It has been suggested to me that this marriage may be regarded by some as a piece of emotionalism unsupported by the judgment," continued Goodman.  "Such is very far from the truth.  In fact neither of us has any startling record of rash acts committed in the past and after 40 years of age character should be somewhat settled, it would seem...In the choice of a husband I certainly have not been unduly precipitous...I have given to the subject the most continuous concentrated serious and honest thought of my life."

   Goodman concludes her statement with a Tennyson quote, Genevieve to King Arthur, "we needs must love the highest when we see it."  As with the leaked engagement news, Goodman's statement was included in newspapers around the country--often on the front page.

   A 1910 edition of the Pacific Presbyterian announced the marriage, "Rev. J.K. Inazawa and Miss Kate A. Goodman were united in marriage last week in a very quiet way.  The engagement was announced some time ago."  The announcement concludes, "This new relation ought to increase the efficiency of both, as the promise is that one shall chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight."

LEFT: Headlines about the Inazawa-Goodman marriage shared headlines about former President Theodore Roosevelt's hunting expedition in present-day Kenya, Sudan, and the Congo River Basin. (WikiCommons)

In Wintersburg
   At the time of the marriage, President Taft had been in office a year and Washington was embroiled in the Congressional investigation of the Pinchot–Ballinger controversy.  News about the Inazawas joined articles about Theodore Roosevelt's hunting exploits in Africa and the Empress Eugenie's last days on the French Riviera.  New Mexico and Arizona had yet to be officially admitted into the Union.  Railroad tycoon James J. Hill was chastising Americans for living beyond their means, while John D. Rockefeller announced he would donate a billion dollars to charity over his lifetime.

   The Inazawa marriage--along with the features on Roosevelt or Empress Eugenie--does not seem to have had the same buzz in Wintersburg Village as in metropolitan society.  Perhaps the diverse population was focused on the hard work of farming and creating a community.   

   In his 1982 oral history interview for the Honorable Stephen K. Tamura Orange County Japanese American Oral History Project, California State University Fullerton Oral History Program Japanese American Project, Henry Kiyomi Akiyama mentions Reverend Inazawa.  His is the only oral history found that mentions the couple.  Akiyama said Reverend Inazawa "was the first reverend after the missionary building was built here and he was married to a hakujin (Caucasian)."  And, that's it.  Seventy-two years later, it was a simple observation.

 ABOVE: The Wintersburg Japanese Mission and, at left, the manse (parsonage) where Reverend Joseph Kenichi and Kate Alice Goodman took up residence in 1910, after their elopement to New Mexico. Reverend Joseph Kenichi Inazawa is on the front steps of the Mission with fellow clergy and church elders. (Photo, Wintersburg Church) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A permanency of happiness
    The Inazawas had many supporters.  In the national newspaper, The Christian Work and the Evangelist (Vol. 88, page 348) in 1910, included a news item about the Inazawas shortly after their marriage, Analyzing a future husband.   

   "In Laguna, New Mexico, has occurred a marriage of the Rev. Joseph Kenichi Inazawa and Miss Kate Goodman. He is pastor of a Japanese Presbyterian Church and she is a mission worker.  He is 46 and she is slightly his junior," reports the newspaper, explaining that Goodman had to defend the choice of her husband. 

   "Anyone who considers her husband is all right biologically, anthropologically, sociologically, psychologically, and theologically ought to be happy!"  The newspaper continues, "many of our girls only stop to inquire if a fellow is financially right. It is better to trust to induction and deduction every time!"  

   A few years after the headline-making marriage, Neeta Marquis wrote about the Inazawas in a 1913 article for The Independent, Interracial Amity in Los Angeles, Personal Observations on the Life of the Japanese in Los Angeles.  California writer Marquis authored books about Presbyterian history, art, and works such as Earth's story of evolution : from cosmic dust to the present age.

LEFT: Around 1921, the Inazawas left for Japan. Upon the death of Kate Alice Goodman's brother--following World War II and 44 years after her marriage to Joseph Kenichi Inazawa--she is noted as a survivor and living in Kamakura, Japan. (Great Bend Tribune, Kansas, February 1, 1954)

   "Between two and three years ago, when the native pastor of the Japanese Presbyterian Church, Joseph K. Inazawa, a scholarly and interesting man of highly pleasing personality, was married to an American lady, a reception was tendered the couple at the home of one of the prominent American ministers, and the American and Japanese friends of the two mingled as guests," writes Marquis.  "The alliance caused considerable comment at the time, the general sentiment of the American public not personally acquainted with the principals being, of course, opposed to the union."

   "Mrs. Inazawa, then Miss Kate Goodman, a Christian woman of independent character, experienced in teaching and normal school work, formerly a student at the University of Chicago, had for nine years worked among and studied the Japanese in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles," Marquis explained.  "As a concession to public opinion, she published a statement defining her attitude on the matter of her marriage.  The statement...was a clear, finished, logical and sane production..."

   Marquis writes about meeting with Kate Inazawa and finding her to be "a thoroly (sic) normal American woman of the broadly intellectual type, possest of a delightful sense of humor and more than willing to answer the questions I was eager to ask her."  Kate Inazawa is reported as telling Marquis that "she would be glad for the American public to know that over two years of life as the wife of a Japanese Christian gentleman had in no particular altered the personal attitude toward inter-racial marriage which she stated at the time of her union with Mr. Inazawa*." 

   Marquis summarizes that the Inazawa marriage is successful because the "husband and wife are one in ideals, aims and spiritual outlook" and that "a permanency of happiness can be expected."
ABOVE: The first pastor after the Wintersburg Japanese Mission opened its doors in 1910 and the first to live in the manse at Historic Wintersburg, Joseph Kenichi Inazawa was among the first of the Japanese to be ordained in the United States. (San Francisco Call, April 16, 1896)

The Wintersburg Mission
   Reverend Inazawa held the first official service in the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission building in 1910, during his first year of marriage to Kate Goodman.  The couple were the first to live in the manse (parsonage), adjacent to the mission.

   Having lost her U.S. citizenship as a result of her marriage to someone "ineligible for citizenship", Kate Alice Goodman Inazawa and Reverend Joseph K. Inazawa left for Japan.  Documents for the Presybterian mission in Japan reveal their residence there by 1921.  Kate Inazawa is noted as alive and living in Kamakura, Japan, in a 1954 news item in the Great Bend Tribune newspaper in Kansas, forty-four years after her marriage.
*Editor's note: New Mexico---where the Inazawas traveled in order to marry---repealed anti-miscegenation laws in 1866.  California banned interracial marriage between 1850 to 1948. In 1922, the U.S. Congress passed the Cable Act, which continued the legal removal of citizenship of any U.S. woman who married "an alien ineligible for citizenship," targeted at Asian immigrants who were barred from citizenship. In 1948, the California Supreme Court in Perez v. Sharp ruled that the anti-miscegenation statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing anti-miscegenation law and becoming the first state to do so since Ohio in 1887.   In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that the state bans still in place violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Tashimas of Wintersburg

The celery section of a Japanese wholesale produce market in downtown Los Angeles prior to evacuation.* (War Relocation Authority, photographer Clem Albers, University of California - Berkeley Bancroft Library, April 11, 1942)


Pat Tashima: "Does anything stand out in your mind about Wintersburg?"

Masako Tashima: "I feel so nice, happy. And people in my neighborhood so nice to me and my family. So glad."


   When Pat Tashima interviewed her grandmother, Masako Yagi Tashima, thirty-eight years ago in 1974 for the California State University - Fullerton (CSUF) Japanese American Project, Masako was 78 years old.  She was the oldest Nisei (first generation American) in Orange County at the time.

   Masako's parents had emigrated from Japan in the late 1800s.  They established a hotel in San Francisco, where Masako was born in 1896.  Like many other Japanese, her parents had been affected by the post Meiji period dismantling of the Samurai in Japanese society.

   The National Park Service (NPS) report on the History Of Japanese Americans in California: Patterns of Settlement and Occupational Characteristics states in 1890, 590 Japanese were in San Francisco.  Masako's parents were among them.

     "My parents both come from Samurai family, and not very much," remembered Masako, "So they were thinking, 'Come outside, see foreign country.' "  Her parents were 19 and 17 years old when they left Japan for a new life.

   Masako's parents sent her to Japan for school during her younger years, bringing her back for their move to Los Angeles.  The NPS reports many Japanese moved from Northern to Southern California during the rapid expansion of the Los Angeles area (the early 20th Century Southern California boom period), and that many moved south in 1906 after the San Francisco earthquake.

   In Los Angeles, Masako met her husband, Junjiro (also spelled as "Gunjiro" in oral history records) and they moved to Wintersburg.

"Gunjiro, Hal and Nori ride to the store in the Duesenburg, 1919-1920." (Photo courtesy of the Tashima family) © All rights reserved.

The Tashima (Tajima) Market in Wintersburg

  The Tashima Market in Wintersburg was the former Asari Market, owned by Tsurumatsu "T.M." Asari (oral history records also spell the Tashima family name as "Tajima").   Junjiro had been a delivery boy for Asari, before taking ownership of the market himself.

   Yukiko Furuta described in her oral history the store--which specialized in Japanese groceries and clothing--as being fairly large, including a barbershop and pool hall.   The market was located across the street from the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission and the Furuta family home, on Wintersburg (now Warner) Avenue

   "All Japanese people who lived around here bought their groceries from this store," explained Yukiko, who was able to walk across Wintersburg Avenue to the market.  "The people lived scattered and not too close to the store...So, the store hired delivery boys..."  Yukiko recalled Wintersburg residents also shopped at MacIntosh's Meat House, off of what is now Nichols Street, and that the Tashima and MacIntosh's stores were the only markets in Wintersburg.
    The Tashima and Furuta families were friends. Yukiko Furuta recalls the five Tashima boys (Hiroyuki, Noriyuki, Takayuki, Masayuki, Yoshiyuki) and daughter (Kimiko) came to her home almost every day to play with the Furuta children.

Wintersburg's Asari Market--later the Tashima Market--was the scene of a dramatic armed robbery in September 1910 (the Asari name is misspelled, fairly common in the age of handset, hot type).  The market had a separate room used as a pool hall, also mentioned in the oral history of Yukiko Furuta.  (Image, Los Angeles Herald, September 3, 1910)

   During the early 1900s, there were numerous Nihonmachi (Japan street or Japan town) on the west coast, most larger than the small one in Wintersburg.  The Tashima Market served Wintersburg and the surrounding countryside, providing a meeting point for both the Japanese and other farmers from around Orange County.

   Masako Tashima seems to have loved Wintersburg, where the family set down roots.  Her children most likely attended the Ocean View Grammar School and Huntington Beach High School (archival information for the Poston Arizona Relocation Center--where the family was interned--indicate Masako's sons Masayuki and Takayuki attended Huntington Beach High School).

   While their friends, the Furutas, were Christian--attending the Wintersburg Presbyterian Mission--the Tashimas appear to have been Buddhist.  In his 1988 oral history, Clarence Nishizu recalls the Tashimas providing the second floor above the market for Sunday school and services for the local Buddhist community.

   "Mr. Tashima was an outgoing man and he was quite a leader in the community, taking part in organizing Seinen Kai, Young Men's Club," remembered Nishizu, explaining the Tashima Market's central role in the County's Japanese community.  

   "Around 1915 or so, (Tashima) built a two-story building with a grocery store on the first floor and a hall for social gatherings on the south side of (Wintersburg Avenue)... The second story above the Tashima store was used by the community as a meeting place," Nishizu continued.  "Since there were many young Issei in the area at that time, every year at the end of the year before New Year's, the Seinin Kai held what is called Bonen Kai, which consists of singing, Japanese plays, samurai dancing called Kembu, et cetera, to commemorate the sending off and forgetting the old year."


Pat Tashima:  "What was Orange County like back in the early 1900s?"

Masako Tashima: "Oh, very good. Quiet. And all my children born in Wintersburg, same place. They live there, go to school, so I like it there very much."

Pat Tashima: "How were you treated by the different people?"

Masako Tashima: "Well, all nationalities very good friends to me. Come everyday and every night and speak with me. I was so happy."


   Masako raised six children in Wintersburg, surviving a round of typhoid and the Great Depression.  Wintersburg established itself as an agricultural center for the County and a social center for the Japanese community.

   After working and raising their children in Wintersburg, the Tashimas moved their market to the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Garden Grove Boulevard, in the City of Garden Grove.  They were living in Garden Grove at the time of Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor, Detention and Evacuation

The Immigration and Natural Service commandeered the former Tuna  (Tajunga) Canyon camp to serve as a detention station for male enemy aliens one day after Pearl Harbor. The first Japanese nationals were received on Dec. 16, 1941 and by Christmas, nearly 100 Issei men arrested in Southern California were brought in.   (Photograph courtesy of Rafu Shimpo-Los Angeles Japanese Daily News, "Community Unites to Save Former Japanese Site", September 14, 2009)

Pat Tashima: "Do you remember what you were doing when you heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?"

Masako Tashima: "Yes, 1941, morning around seven o'clock. We heard radio. My goodness. All of us standing up, 'What happened?' All children speaking, I feel so upside-down. I don't know what to say. So shaking, shaking."


   Masako recalled the days afterward, when no one was allowed to travel more than five miles from their home, the early evening curfew, and that all lights must be turned off at night.  She told her granddaughter she was scared "most of the time" and stayed home.  If she went out, it was fast and she returned home as quickly as possible.

   By May 1942, the orders for evacuation came.  Masako packed "one bag to put in clothes, and one plate each to eat; cup, knife, spoon, fork, that's all." Masako said she was "so scared, I don't know where I am going...Get on train, close windows, don't speak nothing, just few words."

   Masako's husband, Junjiro, had already been picked up by the FBI and taken to the Tajunga (Tuna Canyon) detention center--the former La Tuna Camp operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps--outside Los Angeles.  Those taken to Tajunga included teachers, clergy of all faiths, judo instructors, and those involved with language schools or Japanese associations.   Documents released by the National Archives in Laguna Niguel in 2006 indicate the breakdown of the detainees as: Japa­nese, 2,316; German, 131; Italian, 99; Austrian, 2; French, 2; Polish, 1; Ukrainian, 1; Russian, 1; Dutch, 1; Unknown, 8 (Rafu Shimpo-Los Angeles Japanese Daily News, "Community Unites to Save Former Japanese Site", September 14, 2009).

   The detainees were not allowed within ten feet of the fence, but were allowed two visits a week with a fence separating the detainees from the visitors.  The diary of one detainee recalls it was almost more demoralizing to have visitors, since the visits were only for 30 minutes and visitors talked with detainees through chain link, reaching their fingers through to make contact.

   In 1991, federal archivists discovered Los Angeles-area detainee files, including over 2,500  individual case files for both Tajunga and a relatively unknown U.S. Army-run detention facility in Griffith Park.  These records are available for public review through the National Archives, Pacific Region office in Laguna Niguel, California,

Civic involvement raised profiles

   Masako recalls her husband "went with reverends, schoolteachers, professors, and doctors--that kind of people. They moved them all over without knowing where they were going."  Masako believed he was taken because Junjiro had been involved with the Smeltzer Japanese Association and other Japanese community organizations when they lived in Wintersburg.  

   During the Association's years of activity between 1905 to 1940, Junjiro Tashima (Gunjiro Tajima) is one of the men documented as serving as president, as was his neighbor, Charles Mitsuji Furuta, Wintersburg and Smeltzer labor camp manager, Tsuneji Chino, and Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission charter member and elder, Kyutaro Ishii.

   Masako and her children managed to see Junjiro before he was moved to a U.S. Army center in New Mexico.  She was worried that he was ill (Junjiro suffered from Parkinson's Disease).  Recognizing the confusion and rumors of the time, he reassured Masako that "he didn't do any bad thing so, straight honest. (He) said, 'Ask me, I want to answer.' "

   During the 1974 oral history interview, it was explained that Junjiro "went willingly because he was taken. But he didn't do anything wrong...And had they asked him, he would have answered right away. Since he was never asked, he could never state his side."

   Junjiro later was moved from New Mexico to Arizona's Colorado River Relocation Center to join his family.

Evacuation from Huntington Beach

  Those evacuated from Wintersburg and around Orange County gathered with other Issei and Nissei at the Pacific Electric Railway station in Huntington Beach.  Evacuees were expected to make their own way to the station.  Arriving early in the morning, the evacuees were then put on buses for the day-long trip to the Colorado River Relocation Center, Poston, Arizona.  

The Pacific Electric Railway station in Huntington Beach was used as a point of departure for Orange County Japanese being evacuated to the Poston, Arizona Internment Center. (Photograph, Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society,

   Hitoshi Nitta of Santa Ana, remembers people were designated to arrive at the Huntington Beach station on different days.  During his 1966 oral history interview with Richard Curtiss for the CSUF Oral History Program, Japanese American Project, Hitoshi recalls there were "well over ten buses" on the day he evacuated.  The regulations and notices for evacuation were posted on Southern California Edison light poles.

   Nitta recalls there were Caucasians who were vocal in their opposition to the evacuation and that a group "served coffee and donuts to the evacuees the morning that we departed" from the Huntington Beach station.  Henry Kanegae, also interviewed in 1966 by Curtiss, remembered Baptist ladies from west Orange County serving coffee: "after I arrived at camp, I wrote them a letter thanking them for it."

   The Nittas put their farm into the hands of their Mexican American foreman, who operated the farm and sold the produce for them.  He visited them at Poston regularly.  At the time of Hitoshi Nitta's interview in 1966, the foreman was still with the Nitta family at their farm in Santa Ana.

Internees from California waiting while the buses arrive at the Poston Arizona Internment Center.  (Photograph courtesy of University of California-Berkeley Bancroft Library)

Enduring Poston

   Masako reacted like most Japanese regarding Poston: it was nothing but sand, in their shoes, in the food, in the barracks, everywhere.  "It was bleak," agreed Hitoshi Nitta.  The use of green lumber in barracks construction meant barrack walls dried and shrank in Arizona's dry heat, leaving gaps through which sand continually entered living quarters.

   The Tashima's second oldest son, Noriyuki, had been drafted into the U.S. Army prior to Pearl Harbor.  He was later awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in France.  (Masako notes Noriyuki spoke three languages and later served as the first Japanese American postmaster in the mainland U.S., appointed by President Kennedy.) 

   Nori's brothers, Takayuki, Masayuki,  and Yoshiyuki later also served in the U.S. Army.  At one point, four of Masako's sons were serving in different parts of the world.

Masayuki Tashima left Poston for a work furlough on a sugar beet farm in Colorado. He later served in the U.S. Army.  (Photographer Tom Parker, Milliken, Colorado, November 3, 1942, California State University - Berkeley Bancroft Library)
John Fukushima and Masayuki Tashima topping beets for the Great Western Sugar Company near Milliken, Colorado, while on work furlough from the Poston, Arizona Relocation Center. Masayki later served in the U.S. Army, 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion Company A. (Photographer Tom Parker, Milliken, Colorado, November 3, 1942, California State University - Berkeley Bancroft Library)

    After World War II and the internment years, most of the Japanese markets and stores disappeared from Wintersburg and Huntington Beach.  

   Yukiko Furuta recalled, "Mr. and Mrs. Oda, came back after the war and started the barbershop again. But Mr. Gunjiro Tajima (Junjiro Tashima) who owned the grocery shop went to Cleveland after getting out of camp and didn't come back (note: Junjiro passed away from Parkinson's disease in 1959). The other grocery store in Talbert had been run by Mr. Gizo Noguchi, but he also didn't come back here after the war, so there were no Japanese grocery stores in Orange County after the war anymore."

   Eventually--although they did spend time in Cleveland--most of the Tashima family did return to California, according to the grandson of Gunjiro and Masako, Eugene Tashima, who has a Master's degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California - Los Angeles and currently teaches sociology at Victor Valley Community College in Victorville, California.

  "Masayuki and Kimiko settled in Cleveland permanently.  The rest of the family eventually moved back to California.  Hiroyuki and his wife, Mary, settled in the Crenshaw area.  Gunjiro and Masako lived with them in the Crenshaw area," explains Eugene.  "Hiroyuki eventually moved to Monterey Park.  Noriyuki and Takayuki married sisters (Janet and Frances Tsuchiya) and settled in their hometown, Livingston, CA.  After serving in the Army and graduating UC Davis, my other uncle, Yoshiyuki and his wife, Mary settled in Buena Park."


Pat Tashima: "Did you think it was kind of unfair?"

Masako Tashima: "Well, I can't tell how. Fate is so mixed-up sometime. Everything change quietly."

Pat Tashima:  "As you look back, how do you view your whole experience?"

Masako Tashima: "Well, not very sure. I don't like war. So many people sorry."

Pat Tashima: "Grandma, were your feelings ever divided between Japan and America?"

Masako Tashima: "Well, I lived in Japan so long, but I am so glad stay here. Of course, in Japan is all right--beautiful, I like. But if I want to stay, my life be in America. This is my country, so warm feeling." 


*Editor's note: The "Baptist ladies from west Orange County" likely included congregants of the Huntington Beach Baptist church (Sixth and Orange Streets in Huntington Beach) or the Baptist Church off Wintersburg Road (now Warner Avenue) and Gothard Avenue in Wintersburg, as they knew local families.  Constructed in 1906, the Sixth and Orange street Church was supported by farmer Lewis Preston, who also contributed to the then-Methodist Church at Warner and Gothard avenues, a few steps away from the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church.  It was not uncommon for early Wintersburg and Huntington Beach residents to support the efforts of churches or temples of faiths other than their own.

Special thanks to Eugene Tashima for contacting Historic Wintersburg to let us know where the family went after World War II.

Do you have photographs of the Tashima Market, the Smeltzer Japanese Association, MacIntosh's Meat House or other places in Wintersburg?  Please let us know.  Photographs can be scanned and archived for future generations.   

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.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Century Later: Wintersburg

The Furuta family at the tennis court on their property at Wintersburg (Warner) Avenue and Nichols Lane, circa 1920s.  Charles Mitsuji Furuta constructed the tennis courts for his wife, Yukiko, who had enjoyed playing tennis during her childhood in Japan.  (Photograph courtesy of California State University-Fullerton, Center for Oral and Public History)

Editor's Note: the next post on Historic Wintersburg will return to sharing history with information about the Tashima family, who owned a market in Wintersburg in the early 1900s.  Below is an update on the action taken by the Huntington Beach City Council, which affects the future of Historic Wintersburg.

   The Huntington Beach city council voted to establish an ad hoc committee regarding the historic preservation of the Wintersburg structures that include the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission (1909-1910), manse (1910), Furuta family home (1912), barn (most likely prior to 1912), and Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church (1934).

   The ad hoc committee will include three city council members, the property owner, and members of the community.  As a sub committee of the city council, these will be open, public meetings and those interested in the future of Wintersburg are welcome to participate.

   The draft Focused Environmental Impact Report(FEIR)---required by California law---will be released later this summer.  This report is to include alternatives for historic preservation in situ (onsite), analysis regarding relocation of the historic structures, and the application to demolish the structures.

   We periodically will post updates on the public environmental process and the ad hoc committee's efforts.

   Thank you to our readers who sent comments supporting preservation of Historic Wintersburg.

"These old buildings do not belong to us only, they belong to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our own property to do with as we like with them. We are only trustees for those that come after us."           
                                                                                                                       William Morris

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.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wintersburg: What will be lost?

   "...take a moment and think of something significant to you personally. Anything. You may think of your children, or your spouse, or your church, or god, or a favorite piece of art hanging in your living room, or your childhood home, or a personal accomplishment of some type. 

   Now take away your memory. Which of those things are now significant to you? None of them... Without memory nothing has significance, nothing has meaning, nothing has value.

   We acquire memories from a sound or a picture, or from a conversation, or from words in a book, or from the stories our grandmother told us. But how is the memory of a city conveyed? 

   Here’s what Italo Calvino writes, 'The city ... does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightening rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.'

   The city tells it own past, transfers its own memory, largely through the fabric of the built environment. Historic buildings are the physical manifestation of memory and it is memory that makes places significant."

      Donovan Rypkema, Sustainability, Smart Growth and Historic Preservation (2007),  
author of The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader’s Guide 
(The National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1994)

Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission, circa 1911, built with the support of people from around Orange County, California.  Wintersburg (now Warner) Avenue is a dirt road leading from the east end of Wintersburg (adjacent to Talbert) into the peatlands and wetlands at the west end. (Photo courtesy of Wintersburg Presbyterian Church)
 Today, the whitewashed Mission is hidden from view behind the 1934 Church building. (Photo, 2012)

Yukiko and Charles Mitsuji Furuta in front of their newly constructed home, circa 1912.  (Photo courtesy of California State University - Fullerton, Center for Oral and Public History)

Furuta family home, circa 2007.  (Photo courtesy of Chris Jepsen,

Furuta family home, still retaining its red iron oxide paint. The Furuta barn also retains evidence of being painted with red iron oxide. (Photo, March 2012)

Reverend Junzo Nakamura and Sunday school group in front of Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission manse / social hall, circa 1924.  (Photo courtesy of California State University - Fullerton, Center for Oral and Public History)

Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission manse / social hall.  (Photo, September 2011)

Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church, December 9, 1934.  The original Mission building stands behind this Church building, at the intersection of Wintersburg Avenue and Nichols Lane.  Congregants set down planks to stand on because Wintersburg Avenue (now Warner) was an unpaved road.  Note there are a few women in kimonos and that the gathering includes members of both the Japanese and Caucasian community. (Photograph courtesy of Wintersburg Presbyterian Church)

Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church, circa 2007.  The widening of Warner Avenue left room only for a sidewalk in front of the doorway to the Church.  (Photo courtesy of Chris Jepsen,

The peatland celery fields of Orange County, California, early 1900s.  Agriculture was the economic engine that provided for the development of modern-day urban Orange County.

The Furuta family farmland behind the barn was once home to the family garden, goldfish ponds and a tennis court.  It is now planted with nopales (prickly pear cactus).  (Photo, June 2012)

   "What neither the supporters nor the critics of globalization understand is that there is not one globalization but two - economic globalization and cultural globalization...Economic globalization has widespread positive impacts; cultural globalization ultimately diminishes us all. 

   It is through the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings that a community can actively participate in the positive benefits of economic globalization while simultaneously mitigating the negative impacts of cultural globalization."    
                                                                                                                  Donovan Rypkema

Call to action
    The City of Huntington Beach city council will discuss the potential for demolition or preservation of Historic Wintersburg buildings at their 6 p.m., Monday, July 16, 2012 meeting.  Help preserve this important part of American history by sending an email to the city council requesting they:
  • Direct a complete California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analysis of all historic preservation alternatives, including both preservation in situ (onsite) and relocation for preservation
  • Make the historic preservation of the century-old "Warner-Nichols" Wintersburg property a priority
  • Deny demolition of historically significant buildings  located on the Warner-Nichols property, including the Furuta family home and barn, and the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission, manse and Church
Emails should be sent by Saturday, July 14, 2012, to:

City of Huntington Beach City Council 
Public Communications  for July 16, 2012 city council meeting
Reference: Warner-Nichols (Wintersburg)
  •  Go to
  • Click on "Make a service request - Agenda & Public Hearing Comments"
  • Select request:  "Comment" 
  • Select: "City Council - Agenda & Public Hearing Comments" 
  • You may attach a letter/document, or, write your comments in the comment form
  • Your comments are automatically forwarded to all city council members, the city manager's office and the city clerk's office

Editor's note: Readers can find the full article, Economic Benefits of Preservation Session, “Sustainability and Historic Preservation by Donovan Rypkema posted on the website of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose at

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.