Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Crystal Cove Museum Exhibit on Japanese Farmers in the Early 20th Century


This week I had the opportunity to see a very heartwarming exhibition of some of the first Japanese families that farmed in the early twentieth century along the California coast from Crystal Cove to Laguna beach. The link to this story is in the comments Ron Inatomi I thought of you and wondered if you were involved in this exhibition. This is a temporary exhibit at Crystal Cove beach.
“The first Japanese farmer to lease from the Irvine Company along the coast was Keichi Yamashita. The Yamashita family was one of the many Japanese American families who lived on the rich soil of Crystal Cove during the early 20th century. The families would construct homes and farm buildings on the west and east sides of the Coast Highway from Corona del Mar to the northern boundary of Laguna Beach. On the bluffs and hills of the highway, they cultivated crops such as peas, tomatoes, celery, beans and other goods. ..
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the anti-Japanese paranoia led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry, including American citizens, in the West Coast. Executive Order 9066 was made on February 19,1942, which forced more than 35,000 people of Japanese ancestry in the Los Angeles area to leave their homes and possessions. They were later detained in American concentration camps. On May 10, 1942, Civilian Exclusion Order No. 59 was made which forced the Japanese family tenants living between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach to leave their farms and report to a designated area. From 1927 until their eviction in 1942, the Japanese American community of Crystal Cove sold their crops to the Los Angeles markets, and visited tourists from roadside produce stands. ..”

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