July 10, 2024

Planning for the Barreling Plant restoration is underway

View the latest brochure below and continue to watch this space for more information!

April 19, 2023

Mukai honored with prestigious grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Friends of Mukai a $150,000 Challenge Grant for the restoration of Mukai Farm & Garden’s historic Mukai Cold Process Fruit Barreling Plant. The grant is one of twenty-four Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants. It comes with a challenge to the recipient to use the federal funds to spur other support for capital construction and renovation projects.

Friends of Mukai has been working for several years on plans to restore the Fruit Barreling Plant to create a multi-purpose center that will include humanities programs highlighting the over 120 years of the Japanese American experience on Vashon Island, Washington. Once restored, the Fruit Barreling Plant will also host agricultural tenants to advance Vashon’s agricultural tradition.

“This grant award comes at an important time for Mukai Farm & Gardens,” said Rita Brogan, President of Friends of Mukai. “The award reaffirms the national importance of the Mukai restoration to the pre-WWII agricultural legacy of Japanese Americans in America. Once complete, this restoration will tell the story of our community, and it will also offer the space for programming to advance understanding of the important economic role of immigrant communities.”

Friends of Mukai has engaged the architectural firm of Hoshide Wanzer in developing the next phase of designs for the restoration project.

“Just a few short years ago, Mukai was in ruins and the community rallied to restore the historic farmhouse and Japanese garden at Mukai,” said Rita Brogan. Restoration of the Fruit Barreling Plant will greatly enhance Mukai’s ability to fulfill its mission to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to our American story.

She added, “We have been blessed with the support of our Congressional delegation, the State of Washington, King County, Seattle and Puget Sound’s Asian American community and the wonderful residents of Vashon Island. We now need to make one last big push to make the vision of a restored Fruit Barreling Plant a reality.”

July 28, 2022

Friends of Mukai Celebrate 10th Anniversary, Look Ahead


On Wednesday, July 13, Friends of Mukai board members and special guests celebrated a decade of important work to ensure the preservation of one of America’s last remaining pre-WWII Japanese farmsteads.


Last week, board members and special guests of the Friends of Mukai celebrated a decade of important work to ensure the survival of one of the last remaining pre-WWII Japanese farmsteads left in America. In doing so, they cemented the farm’s status as a National Landmark and an important part of Vashon’s Japanese American and agricultural heritage.

At the event, Friends of Mukai shared the news that King County, which has awarded significant funds over the years to support their goals and restoration projects, is ready to start negotiating an agreement to transfer ownership of the historic Fruit Barreling Plant building to the Friends of Mukai. The facility was once used to process and pack strawberry harvests for shipment all over the United States. Friends of Mukai is beginning to raise funds to transform the barreling plant into a public gathering space and venue for tenants who complement the organization’s mission.

Christy True, director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, offered her praise of the Friends of Mukai and a continued commitment by King County to the Mukai vision. 

“This is a really important landmark for all of King County,” she said. “We’re going to be continuing to make sure that the vision that you have… is going to be maintained. We all have that same common hope.” The ownership transfer process may take another year, as it still requires approval of the Friends, King County Council and state. 

Mukai Farm’s profile grew in 2022 with the addition of events such as monthly Crafternoon events and Japanese movie nights, a Japanese conversation club with islander Fred Harriman, and a partnership with Vashon Island High School’s Anime Club, spearheaded by new board member Adam Foster. Last week, 168 people attended an Anime Club screening of the 2001 animated feature “Spirited Away” at the Vashon Movie Theater. 

Mukai has also partnered with other island organizations on events such as the recent retrospective of ceramic artist Akio Takamori’s work with the Vashon Center for the Arts, the Vashon Heritage Museum, and the island Potters Guild. The organization also co-hosted an Agricultural Day at Mukai celebrating Vashon farmers and agriculture, a Juneteenth celebration of the end of slavery, and the 80th anniversary of the day on which Vashon’s Japanese community were exiled under Executive Order 9066. The third annual Haiku Festival had more than 350 entries submitted by poets from around the world.

In the coming months, Mukai Farm will collaborate with Lelavision on Indicator Species, a project that will feature performances and science talks organized around a 35-foot tall interactive, kinetic, and musical sculpture of a Plecoptera nymph, also known as a stonefly. 

On September 10, Mukai will host its annual Japan Festival in-person after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.


The restored Mukai house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a living testimony to Japanese American culture and education, and it is open to the public for programming all year, in accordance with state Department of Health requirements for the ongoing pandemic.

Consider making a donation to Mukai to help restore, conserve, and celebrate this historic property that houses the Mukai family’s stories, the island’s agricultural past, Kuni Mukai’s garden, and the greater history of Japanese Americans on Vashon. Visit for additional information

April 28, 2022

Mukai Farm & Garden rounds out Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Agriculture Day

From 11 am to 3pm on Sunday May 22nd, Mukai Farm & Garden and its partners will present a day of celebration of Vashon’s rich agrarian heritage. Our special guests will speak at noon.

The Mukai Farm & Garden will be celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month with information about the Island’s agricultural history with a gathering of farmers, tractors and their owners, speakers and plant selling.  The event is in recognition of one of the Island’s most successful farmers, B.D. Mukai, and will honor other farmers as well.

The island’s agricultural heritage goes back to the first settlers, the sx̌ʷəbabs Native People of Vashon who were here over 5,000 years ago. In the 1930s, the Euro-Asian Americans who had settle 50 years before became a unified community with the emergence of large-scale industrial logging and farms that specialized in diverse products, such as poultry, dairy, vegetable and berries. It is this period, the early 20th century, that the day’s events focus on.

Of special interest, in addition to information about the various Island farmer personalities and stories about their contributions to the Island’s agricultural economy, there will be an opportunity to purchase Marshall strawberry and Japanese vegetable starts.

The Island’s agricultural success could not have been achieved without an indispensable piece of farm equipment – the tractor.  The Friends of Mukai has organized an exhibit of old, local tractors that will be on display on the Mukai grounds. We are pleased to have Island farm families speak to the history of the farms they are working, and the heritage they are honored to carry on. These include Matsuda Farm, Forest Garden Farm, Northbourne Farm and Bruce Haulman of the Vashon Heritage Museum. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our event co-sponsors named above as well as Vashon Island Growers Association and the Food Access Partnership.

All the activities will be open to the public from 11:00am – 3:00pm on the 22nd of May. All are welcome to come, purchase plant starts, browse the multiple tractors which will be on display and learn about the rich history of the Island’s agricultural roots.

April 16, 2022

Mukai Farm & Garden Remembers Day of Exile with Dedication, Art

From 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15, Mukai Farm & Garden will mark the 80th Day of Exile in commemoration of the Vashon-Maury Island residents who were forcibly removed in 1942 and sent to concentration camps where more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were imprisoned during World War II.

On May 16, 1942, armed soldiers forced 111 Japanese American residents of Vashon-Maury Island onto trucks outside Ober Park to be transported to detention camps in Pinedale, California.

Their eviction came after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and incarceration of all Japanese Americans in the West Coast Exclusion Zone. More than 120,000 Japanese people, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were imprisoned in guarded, barbed wire enclosures without trial.

Now, 80 years later, Mukai Farm & Garden will host a Remembrance Day ceremony with special guests to honor each local family forced to abandon their jobs, homes, and very lives in this country. Only about a third of the population of Vashon who were forcibly removed returned.

Visitors to the commemorative event will be invited to take and hold tags with the names of those who were banished on that day. Rita Brogan, president of the Mukai Farm & Garden Board, will give a welcome message, and Paula Wong and Abbott Koshin Cain of the Puget Sound Zen Center will lead the ringing of a temple bell for each displaced family, as well as offer a blessing.

Participants will also have the opportunity to preview a display under development in a partnership between the Vashon Island School District, the Vashon-Maury Heritage Museum and Mukai that commemorates the 1932 gift by Vashon’s Japanese community of 100 cherry trees to express their appreciation for the education of their children. Only three of the original trees remain today, and the Vashon Fruit Club is now propagating replacement trees grafted from the 90-year-old original trees. The exhibit will include the names of all youth who were evacuated in 1942.

At the ceremony, the Friends of Mukai, a non-profit dedicated to the operation of the Mukai Farm & Garden, will unveil a new piece of art created by Lauren Iida, a Seattle-based artist who has exhibited works throughout the Pacific Northwest, to recognize the multigenerational impact on families of those interned. Iida just finished an artist-in-residence program at Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit whose aim is to “to preserve and share history of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to promote equity and justice today.” Iida uses her Japanese American ancestors’ pre-WWII household photographs as reference for her work.

“Having been robbed of my cultural heritage by the unjust incarceration of my ancestors, and the subsequent lack of education they offered me as I child, I had had to turn to historical artifacts to learn about my own ethic roots as an adult,” Iida remarked about the mural.

Throughout the summer, her artwork will be on display on the south wall of the Mukai fruit barreling plant. The artwork, part of a 30-foot-long public art project called “Memory Net,” uses intricate paper cutaways, a classic Japanese art technique, and was cut by hand from a single piece of paper. For more information about the public art installation, visit Iida’s website.

April 12, 2022

Mukai Farm & Garden kicks off Asian Pacific Heritage month with a tribute to Akio Takamori & Vashon clay artists.

From 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 7th, Mukai Farm & Garden and Vashon Center for the Arts present: Bringing Life to Clay with Barbara Johns at Vashon Center for the Arts. Information & Tickets are available online.

Throughout the month of May, Mukai Farm, located at 18017 107th Mukai Way Vashon, WA, will kick off the month-long celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month with our first tribute event: Akio Takamori | Clay on Vashon, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 8th, Mother’s Day.

May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month!

We kick off the first weekend of May with the installation of a clay retrospective by the late ceramic sculptor Akio Takamori, featuring five life-size 2-dimensional figures he created portraying rural villagers recalled from his childhood in Japan, on-site throughout the grounds for the entire month. The collection on exhibit at Mukai Farm, which will be auctioned off in the near future, examines how changing historical, cultural, and racial viewpoints shape individual and group identities and how Takamori explored themes of cultural identify by engaging Eastern and Western aesthetics – something that BD & Kuni Mukai, founders of Mukai Farm & Garden, exemplified in their home, garden and lives.

This exhibition is part of a multi non-profit organizational event recognizing Akio Takamori, his time living on Vashon and the history of local clay artists. Other participants include Vashon Center for the Arts, Vashon Heritage Museum and a trio of long-time island potters spearheaded by Jane Neubauer.

We invite everyone to come play with clay and watch demonstrations of wheel throwing and casting with Mukai board member Renee Roman of Pear Pottery and company, among the blossoms, waterfall, and haiku poetry. Ayumi Luke and Asano Ohara, Mukai board members, will lead an open house Japanese culinary demonstration where they will prepare onigiri, miso soup, and other Japanese dishes. A portion of a large private collection of Kokeshi dolls by island artist Kate Endle will also be on display for the day.

April  11, 2022

Mukai's month of haiku begins with a birthday celebration.

This Sunday a modest group gathered at Mukai Farm & Garden between spots of sunshine to commemorate the winners of this year’s 3rd annual haiku contest, and to celebrate the 112th birthday and memory of Masahiro “Masa” Mukai.  

The third annual Haiku Festival drew submissions from 247 poets, many local, and from as far away as Bielsko-Biała, Poland. They were reviewed by a panel of four judges: Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, Joe Okimoto, John Okamoto and Tim Sproul. The prize-winning poets in four major categories were:

  • Young Poet, Elsa Odegaard, of Vashon  

Even when we think

we’re old, important, busy

let’s still be laughing

  • Heritage, Tomosumi, of Bellevue

Strawberry fields

my ojiisan remembers

summertime kisses

  • Nature, Barbara Hoonan, of Vashon

Like silk, the fog drifts,

concealing the outstretched arms

of ancient hemlocks

  • Reflections, Sebastian Chrobak of Bielsko-Biala, Poland

Friendship in progress

the taste of our strawberries

sweeter every day

  • Social Justice, a tied score between Julia Mark and Dan Iulian


When the Order came, they left

Hearts cracked, heads held high

— Julia Mark

Refugee shelter –

the orphan child spelling “home”

in a foreign tongue

— Dan Iulian

The poems are on display along with spring cherry blossoms throughout the Mukai Farm & Garden complex through the end of May. 

The public is now invited to take their turn as poetry judges by participating in voting for the People’s Choice award.  All haiku entries have been published at, where voting has begun. Visitors to the grounds can also vote for their favorite haiku in person at the kiosk by the parking lot. Although voting is free, a $2 donation is encouraged.

“Little did we realize when we first started the Haiku Festival what it would come to mean to our entire community. We have gotten entries from people as young as five years and as old as 97. We have drawn hundreds of haiku entries from places throughout the globe. It has become a way for us to connect with each other through poetry,” said Rita Brogan, president of Friends of Mukai.

Of course, who could forget about the birthday boy? 

Participants sang Happy Birthday to Masa Mukai and enjoyed a vanilla frosted sheet cake from Vashon’s Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe topped with delicious blueberries and ruby red strawberries. Masa Mukai was born on Vashon-Maury Island in 1911. 

When he turned 15, the Mukai family bought 40 acres of land in the center of the island under his name to circumvent onerous property ownership restrictions that prevented his immigrant parents, B.D. (Denichiro) Mukai and stepmother Kuni from doing so themselves. The entrepreneurial family was ultimately able to attain financial and social success through their lucrative strawberry farm, creating a legacy that lives on today, thanks in large part to Masa’s efforts.

When B.D retired from the farm to travel, Masa, then 23 years old, took over as manager of the 100-acre strawberry farm and fruit barreling facility. In 1942, the Mukai family was forced to self-exile to the Oregon border rather than comply with Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and incarceration of all Japanese Americans in the West Coast Exclusion Zone. Upon Masa’s return to Vashon after the war, he resumed managing the strawberry farm, but gradually turned his interest to other enterprises as farming became less profitable in the ensuing years. 

Luke Lukowski, the longtime owner of Island Spring Organics, which makes tofu and tofu-based products, fondly remembers Masa’s creativity and resilience. He knew him both as a fellow, prominent local businessman and as a good neighbor who helped him develop the source of spring water that made his tofu business possible. 

“He was just the kind of man that was not just resourceful, but he was a survivor,” Lukowski said in remarks honoring Masa. “He reinvented himself, and I think that is a key lesson to remember about his character. That’s the man I knew. That’s the man I want you to remember.” 

Masa finally retired in 1979, and moved with his wife Chiyeko and grown son Milton to Seattle in 1987. He died at the age of 88 in 1999.

May will bring a frenzy of activity at the farm and in the community, in time for Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Mukai Farm & Garden and Vashon Center for the Arts will offer “Bringing Life to Clay” with art historian, curator, and author Barbara Johns in the Kay White theater at Vashon Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. Online tickets and information are available at Mukai Farm will also open to the public the installation of a clay retrospective by the late ceramic sculptor Akio Takamori, featuring five life-size two dimensional figures he created portraying rural villagers recalled from his childhood in Japan, on-site throughout the grounds beginning on Sunday, May 8.

Feb. 1, 2022

Friends of Mukai Seeks Ideas from Potential Tenants to Restore Fruit Barreling Plant

Discover the Fruit Barreling Plant

Friends of Mukai invites initial concepts from prospective tenants interested in operating at the historic Fruit Barreling Plant at Mukai Farm & Garden, Vashon Island. Interested parties are invited to obtain a Request for Information” (RFI), by writing to

The RFI provides background about the building and seeks information from prospective tenants about their concept and background. After screening all proposed concepts, Mukai will contact a “shortlist” of potential tenants.

“We would love to see a range of creative, implementable and sustainable ideas for potential uses of the Fruit Barreling Plant from individuals and organizations who are in a position to make those ideas into a reality,“ said Renee Roman, the Friends of Mukai Board member spearheading the restoration effort. 

Friends of Mukai envisions a range of possible uses ranging from retail, food/beverage, education, arts, non-profit or for-profit businesses. Parts of the building will be devoted to interpretive displays and meeting/ performance activities that support Mukai’s non-profit mission. The Fruit Barreling Plant includes 5,200 square feet of internal space, as well as a 1,530 square foot covered veranda. 

Friends of Mukai seeks responses only from individuals/organizations who have relevant experience and financial means to assure a successful and sustainable tenancy. An open house on Sunday, March 13 will allow prospective tenants to tour the facility and answer questions about the project. 

Responses to the RFI are due on April 15, and shortlisted tenants will be notified the first week of June. If fundraising for the project is successful, construction will be complete at the end of 2023. 

The restoration of the 85-year-old building is the third and final major phase of the restoration of the historic Mukai Farm & Gardens on Vashon Island. As the last pre-WWII Japanese American farmsteads standing in the United States, Mukai Farm & Garden is a place of historic and cultural significance and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friends of Mukai has faithfully restored the Mukai home and Japanese Garden in recent years, including the first Japanese garden designed by a Japanese-American woman in America. Mukai has become an increasingly popular place for public festivals, cultural programs, and special events throughout the year. The signature autumn Japan Festival draws up to 1,800 people in a single day.

The project cost for the renovation of the Fruit Barreling Plant will be funded through a combination of government grants, philanthropic and community contributions. Tenants and developers would be responsible for a negotiated monthly lease and for tenant improvements with the lease rate at or below market.

“Over the last several years, Mukai has grown as a community asset, offering classes, cultural events, and educational resources that celebrate community diversity, our immigrant stories and Japanese American history on Vashon Island,” said Roman. “We are excited about the opportunity to enhance our offerings by creating a renewed purpose for the Fruit Barreling Plant.”   

About Mukai

The restored Mukai house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a living testimony to Japanese American culture and education, and it is open to the public for programming all year, in accordance with state Department of Health requirements for the ongoing pandemic.

Consider making a donation to Mukai to help restore, conserve, and celebrate this historic property that houses the Mukai family’s stories, the island’s agricultural past, Kuni Mukai’s garden, and the greater history of Japanese Americans on Vashon. Visit for additional information

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1 week ago

Mukai Farm & Garden
Movie Night @ Mukai! 🎥 🍿 Did you miss this week's Studio Ghibli Festival? Join us tomorrow night to watch "Happy Flight" at 7:00pm! Entry and snacks are donation based. Don’t miss out on our okashi and furikake popcorn! See you there!#movienight #vashonevents #moviesatmukai #vashonisland #happyflight ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

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4 weeks ago

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Mukai Farm & Garden
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Studio Ghibli Festival is here! 🎥 🍿 Starting on June 25th, Friends of Mukai will once again reprise the popular Mukai Studio Ghibli Festival series, scheduled for every two weeks in partnership with Vashon Theatre! Join us this summer to watch Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 💨 (June 25th, 7PM), Castle in the Sky 🏰 (July 9th, 7PM), Spirited Away 🐉 (July 23rd, 7PM), My Neighbor Totoro 🌱 (August 6, 7PM), and Princess Mononoke 🐺 (August 20, 7PM) at the Vashon Theatre. This event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 per person at the door.#studioghibli #vashontheatre #vashonevents #vashonisland ... See MoreSee Less
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Haiku Festival Winners

Mukai 2nd Annual Haiku Festival:  AND THE WINNERS ARE… This year’s second annual Mukai Haiku Festival drew nearly 400 entries, mostly from Vashon Island but

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