September, 2021

Immigration to America:
The Japanese Journey

We’re kicking off Japan Festival this year with a new self-guided Labyrinth tour at Mukai Farm & Garden, which will open on Sept. 10 from dawn to dusk and explore the national and local history of Japanese immigration to America.
Stay tuned for other activities, such as courses and lectures, which will take place during the month long festival. More information is available at

The Labyrinth walk’s theme is derived from a word in the Japanese language: konjo, which means “grit” or “determination.” A person with konjo is unfazed by setbacks or difficulties, and persists, as demonstrated by those who immigrated to America from Japan against many odds, as well as by the community’s determination to stay safe from COVID-19 today.

Despite numerous legal and cultural obstacles, Japanese Americans persevered, prospered, formed connections, and earned respect and a permanent place in American history, society, and government by drawing on their konjo. The konjo exhibited by Japanese Americans can serve to benefit and inspire all Americans.

Japanese Learning Club

The Friends of Mukai invite people of all ages and levels of study to join a Japanese Language Learning Circle, meeting at 7 p.m. every Tuesday through Zoom. The circle's purpose is to bring together those who speak and are interested in Japanese language and culture, as well as those who want to learn about where to find resources and join a burgeoning local Japanese speaker network. As the circle grows, organizers hope to form groups of Japanese speakers with similar levels of proficiency to promote further study and conversation. The group is led by Fred Harriman, a professional interpreter, translator and chair of Mukai's Education and Research Committee. Those interested in participating should contact us at for more information.

Vashon Island road will honor Mukai family

A half-mile section of SW 107th Avenue SW on Vashon Island will display the honorary road name designation of “Mukai Way.”
It pays tribute to the Mukai Family and the Japanese American immigrant community’s contributions to the island in the 20th century.

On Aug. 17, the King County Council unanimously approved the designation. It also directed the Road Services Division to place signage recognizing the section of road, which is located off SW Bank Road. It’s also where the historic Mukai Farm & Garden property is located.
Local Services is planning a public ceremony to celebrate the designation. Read more on the King County Local Services Blog.

Rental opportunities at the historic Mukai house and garden

As fall approaches and we turn our gaze to more indoor activities, we offer indoor rentals for your meetings, gatherings, business and personal events. Contact Tina Shattuck – with inquires!

February 2021

Goodbye Year of the Rat. Hello Year of the Ox! 

Kung hei fat choi! In 2021, the Asian Lunar New Year, otherwise known as the Chinese New Year, begins on February 12 and ends on February 26. The origins of the Lunar New Year stem from Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, but today it is Lunar New Year is largely secular, celebrated throughout Asia with loud fireworks, dragon dances and large feasts.

There are many traditions associated with the Lunar New Year that include eating noodles for long life, wearing red or gold, cleaning your house before midnight of Lunar New Year’s eve, not cleaning anything on Lunar New Year’s Day (including yourself!), and giving children money in red envelopes. You should also avoid negative words, breaking glass and sharp objects.

Each zodiac sign has its own year. This year marks the end of the Year of the Rat, and the beginning of the Year of the Ox. According to traditional beliefs from the Chinese zodiac, the ox is associated with being honest, earnest and hard working. People born in the Year of the Ox are often considered to be trustworthy, calm and gentle, with low-key personalities. But if you look at the list of famous people born in the Year of the Ox—Vincent Van Gogh, Margaret Thatcher, Adolf Hitler, Robert Kennedy, Charles Lindbergh, Walt Disney and Barack Obama. Low key?

If you were born in the Year of the Ox, which happens every 12 years (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021), this is your year! The horoscope authorities say that Oxen in the year 2021 will be a somewhat turbulent year, and you need to focus on working hard, compromise and managing your budget. The authorities also say that to avoid bad luck during your zodiac animal year, you should wear red underwear every day! Better stock up!

For more Lunar New Year esoterica, go to

Day of Remembrance 

Free Watch Party on Feb 19th, 5:30PM

On February 19th, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which gave the U.S. Army the authority to remove civilians from the military zones established in Washington, Oregon, and California during WWII. This led to the forced removal and incarceration of some 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, who had to abandon their jobs, their homes, and their lives to be sent to one of ten concentration camps scattered in desolate, remote regions of the country. 140 Japanese Americans living on Vashon were removed.

Every February, we commemorate Executive Order 9066 as a reminder of the impact the incarceration experience has had on our families, our community, and our country. It is an opportunity to educate others on the fragility of civil liberties in times of crisis, and the importance of remaining vigilant in protecting the rights and freedoms of all.

A Bitter Legacy is a documentary that examines the lesser known secret prisons designed to isolate US citizen “troublemakers” from other prisoners. These Citizen Isolation Centers are now considered precursors to the Guantanamo Bay prison. Please join us for a free screening of this important documentary on the Mukai Farm & Garden Facebook page on February 19th, 5:30PM.

It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up for Boro Inspired Mending!

Thursday Feb 25th, 2021 9:30 to Noon
Rob Jones is back and live from London, with his class on Boro Mending (more accurately called ‘boro boro’), meaning “rags or tatters.” It is the Japanese art of repairing fabric using scraps and stitching used in Japan during periods of extreme poverty and scarce textiles to prolong the life of clothes and bedding. Class fees are $50 per person.

In this class you will learn:The history and origins of boro boro and see examples of vintage Boro collected in Japan by the tutor

How to repair a garment using scraps, both modern and vintage
How to use sashiko stitching to enhance your work
How to use visible repair to enhance and strengthen textiles using applique and reverse applique techniques
Once registered, we will send the list of supplies; Or you can purchase a kit from Rob
A boro boro patches kit (patches, needle and thread) to do mending on clothes
A boro boro tote bag kit (tote, patches, needle and thread)

Students should allow 2-3 weeks for kits to arrive.
You can see more about Rob at

Mukai Friend Tom Alderson at work

House Improvements Continue at Mukai
During the pandemic, with the Mukai house off-limits for public use, we’ve seized the opportunity to do needed upgrades. With financial support from 4Culture, we’re finally installing a public bathroom complex that will be open during future events, programs, community and private parties. Located adjacent to the house garages, this two-bathroom area can be easily accessed from the garden, parking area, walkways and field, and includes an ADA accessible stall. Now with the lift and widened walkways, Mukai is a fully ADA accessible public space.

Mukai Friend Tom Alderson has managed this project, spending countless hours on all construction components. The quality of his work is stellar and we’re so thankful to him for his leadership on this. Tom was assisted by his son, Zane Alderson, who has worked on many construction projects in Seattle. A corps of volunteers helped with this project including Deborah Reilly of dR Design who provided the architectural design work for this new space, and a group of painters—Mary and Steve Bergman, Lynn Greiner, Benno Bonkowski, Melinda Branscomb and Meg Nelson.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this upgrade!
Donate Now to continue to support us!

Rentals Available

We are so grateful and glad to now be in phase 2 of Washington’s Roadmap to Recovery! We can move slowly forward, making sure we take precautions and keep safety paramount. As we look to summer, we are excited to be able to offer our wonderful farm & garden for mostly outside events.

Whether you are looking for a micro-wedding, a mini-(cere)mony, something more traditional, a family reunion or anything in between, Mukai Farm & Garden can help with your 2021 event.

Imagine an intimate affair in front of the pond or on the front lawn. Summer sees fish in the bubbling pond & the garden in full bloom. Make your event special at this historic and award winning farm & garden.

We are now booking for a very limited number of private events.
Contact: for more information!

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