B.D. (Denichiro) Mukai was born in Osaka Japan in 1885. He immigrated to the California in 1906, and in 1910, he married a Yokohama girl, Sato, a picture bride.
In 1910 they moved to Vashon to grow strawberries. Their son Masa was born in 1911. In 1921, Sato died. B.D. then married Kuni, Sato’s sister. When she married B.D., she moved to Vashon to become a full-time wife and mother.
From 1910 to 1926, the family leased land to farm berries. Successful as a strawberry farmer, in 1924 B.D. started the Mukai Cold Process Fruit Barreling Plant. He developed a process of preserving berries by packing them in barrels with sugar, and then “freezing” them, which allowed them to be shipped all across the United States.
In 1926, when Masa turned 16, the family purchased 60 acres of land in the center of Vashon. Masa, as an American born citizen, was allowed to do this. His parents, as Japanese immigrants, were not allowed to purchase property – another manifestation of the anti-Japanese sentiment rampant at the time.
The purchase of the Mukai Farm allowed this entrepreneurial family to enjoy well-deserved financial and social success.
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