Long-Term Project Award – Friends of Mukai
Ed. note: The Friends of Mukai were honored at the 2017 AKCHO Awards Program for their work in preserving the Mukai Farmstead and Garden on Vashon Island.
Just beyond downtown Vashon is a garden and home of that tell the story of Denishiro (B.D.), Sato, and Kuni Mukai. These young Japanese came to America at the end of the 19th century to build a better future. B.D. arrived in San Francisco in 1895 and moved north after the 1906 earthquake. He married Sato Nakanishi and together they successfully grew and processed strawberries.
Sato died in 1922 and B.D. married her sister Kuni Nakanishi. In 1926 the Mukai family purchased land in their son’s name and in 1930 constructed a house and garden on Vashon Island blending two cultures: a traditional Japanese stroll garden designed by Kuni and a typical suburban American home designed by B.D.
The Mukai house and garden is the first Japanese American site to qualify as a Historical Landmark in King County. The house and garden survived the internment of the Japanese only to be at risk again. After a lengthy legal battle, that ended in 2016, the house and garden are now safely under the control of the Friends of Mukai.