1910 to 1926 | Getting Started
B.D. (Denichiro) Mukai was born in Osaka, Japan in 1885. He immigrated to California in 1906, and in 1910, he married Sato, a picture bride from Yokohama.
In 1910, they moved to Vashon to take up strawberry farming. Their son Masa was born here in 1911. In 1921 when Sato died, B.D. married her sister Kuni. Kuni then relocated to Vashon to become a full-time wife and mother.
From 1910 to 1926, the family leased various parcels of land to farm berries. Successful as a grower, B.D. established the Mukai Cold Process Fruit Barreling Plant. His innovative contribution was to perfect a process of preserving berries by packing them in barrels with sugar, and then “freezing” them. This allowed his berries to be shipped all across the United States.
In 1926, when Masa turned 16, the family purchased 60 acres of land at the center of Vashon. As an American-born citizen, Masa was legally able to do this. His parents, as Japanese immigrants, were not allowed to purchase property – a manifestation of anti-Japanese laws prevalent at the time. The purchase of the Mukai Farm allowed this entreprenurial family to enjoy well-deserved financial and social success.