Friends of Mukai

To restore and preserve the Mukai Farmstead & Garden, interpret the historical impact of the Mukai family and the broader Japanese American immigrant community on 20th Century agriculture, business, and community life and celebrate the ongoing role of this historic landmark in our community.

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Address: PO Box 2603 PO Box 2603
Vashon, WA 98070
Phone Number: 206-669-1577
EIN: 46-1860913
Board of Directors
Benno Bonkowski is a retired public services manager and analyst with extensive experience in the fields of environment, community development, and housing. Despite growing up on a strawberry raising fruit and vegetable farm in an immigrant family, he still cultivates an interest in small scale sustainable agriculture, and retains his taste for strawberries.
Kathleen Farner is Professor Emeritus of Music at Pacific Lutheran University. Currently she coordinates Vashon Pet Partners, helping dogs and handlers prepare to be a therapy team. She was involved in the Historic Dockton Trail Project, and looks forward to preserving the Mukai House & Garden.
Lynn Greiner is a social justice attorney, active on the State Bar's Access to Justice Board, directed a non-profit law office, and has been actively involved in community organizations. She has an interest in historic preservation. She spearheaded the FoM litigation to secure the property.
Bruce Haulman is a retired professor of history, an author of many articles on local history and two books, about Vashon history. He is a Board member of the Vashon Island Heritage Association.
Ellen Kritzman is a retired science librarian and museum curator of mammals, author of a field guide, and journal and magazine articles in the field of natural history. She has served on a number of boards and committees and was a founding Board member of Island Landmarks in1995..
Alice Larson has over 30 years of experience working with non-profit and government agencies offering social service/research design and development, community assessment, and evaluation assistance. She was a member of the Vashon College faculty, and other Island committees.
Flo Lentz likes helping non-profits navigate the challenges of stewarding historic places. She recently retired from a 40 year career in historic perseveration, where she served in various local, state, and national preservation agencies, and worked for 15 years as a private consultant. Through her position as preservation lead at 4Culture, Flo has been closely involved with the effort to secure the Mukai Farmstead & Garden.
Kay Longhi is a retired health care administrator who has worked in hospitals and the managed care industry. Her interest in preservation stems from living in the South. She was raised on Vashon.
Helen Meeker is a retired former YWCA Executive Director with 28 years of non-profit agency experience, including 15 years working with government and private non-profit groups in Washington State. She has served on committees and boards for several Vashon organizations.
Joe Okimoto, M.D. is the first child born on American soil of immigrant Japanese Christian missionary parents. As a child, he and his family were interned in a camp in Poston, AZ for 3 years resulting from Executive order 9066. He has a private practice in psychiatry.
Glenda Pearson has recently retired from her position as a research and reference librarian at the University of Washington, whose subject responsibilities included Human Rights, Cinema Studies, and News Media. She has a particular interest in the history of ethnic communities in the Pacific Northwest
Barbara Thal Schroeder retired from Leadership Tomorrow, an adult leadership development program in Seattle, where she served as the Program Director. She attended inner city schools in Seattle where her sense of social justice was born. She believes that a person's history should never be lost or forgotten. And she believes deeply, as Martin Luther King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Friends of Mukai is supported by the State of Washington, King County and 4Culture as well as many members of the community.
FoM has partnered with:
•The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
•The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
•The National Park Service
•The Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association
•The King County Department of Historic Preservation
•King County Parks and Recreation
•Historic Seattle.
Vashon Maury Island Land Trust
Vashon Maury Chamber of Commerce
In addition, we are working closely with members of the Japanese-American community including Tom Ikeda and the Densho Archive, Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, Clarence Moriwaki and The Bainbridge Japanese Memorial Committee, The Panama Hotel Jazz Project and Vashon Allied Arts, and members and descendants of the Japanese community on Vashon.

Just west of Vashon Town down a small side road, sits a house and garden at 18017 107th Avenue SW that is unique in the United States. The house is a typical bungalow from the late 1920's, and complementing the house is a fine example of a traditional Japanese stroll garden. Together they represent a blending of two cultures, the quest to become "American" by B.D Mukai who designed and built the house, and the symbolism and beauty of their Japanese heritage in the garden designed by Kuni Mukai. Her effort is a primary highlight in that it was rare for a woman to have the opportunity to do this type of work.The Mukais cultivated friendships in the Vashon community and invited their neighbors for tea in a time of spreading xenophobia. Fortunately there are still people who live on Vashon who remember Masa Mukai, their son, and the friendships that were forged during their time on the Island. Now, Friends of Mukai (FoM) is acquiring, with the help of King County, the adjacent parcel where the original fruit barreling plant is situated. All three of these entities, the house, garden and barreling plant are in disrepair due to many years of neglect by previous owners. FoM is dedicated to revitalizing the entire complex as an educational and cultural site, open to the public for gatherings, inspiration, and celebrations. A primary role will be to provide a place for lectures and discussion about what it meant historically to be an immigrant and what it means to be an immigrant today with all of the challenges. FoM has a comprehensive Preservation Plan researched and compiled by a highly respected historical consulting firm, Artifacts Consulting, Inc. that outlines the three phases of renovation for this property: A Site Circulation plan, A Civil Engineering Assessment, and Site Construction. All of these improvements will take place over an approximately five year period. FoM is doing fundraising in the community and has strong partnerships with King County, 4Culture, and the State of Washington for historic preservation.
The loss of the generations that are the story-tellers of the achievements and tragedies of Japanese Americans is profound. FoM is determined to make sure that this history is not lost, and further that there is a physical place for people to gather to learn and reflect on these stories so they are not lost to the next generations.