The beginning of World War II brought rising anti-immigrant sentiment. In 1942, the Japanese Exclusion Act, Executive Order 9066, was signed, forcing the internment of all west coast Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.
The Mukai family—Kuni, Masa, wife Chiyeko and their son Milton—fled Vashon, moving to Dead Ox Flats, Oregon where Chiyeko had family. They essentially became voluntary evacuees, moving outside the exclusion zone, and thus were not imprisoned as were the other Japanese families on Vashon.
While exiled in Dead Ox Flats, Masa introduced row crops into what was then primarily cattle country. He raised seed for lettuce and other vegetables on 100 acres he purchased. He invented his own harvester to catch flyaway seeds, making a successful living though out the War.
During the War, Maurice Dunsford leased the Vashon farm and packing plant from the Mukai family. Dunsford operated the packing plant successfully during the War, and Phillipe Baccaro, a labor contractor from Canada, sub-leased the house and garden and operated the farm. Together Dunsford and Baccaro kept the Mukai enterprises fully operational and profitable throughout the War.
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