Director: Heather Searles
Producer: Christine Tanaka for KVIE
A chronicle of the first Japanese to settle in California’s Central Valley and their impact on the state’s leading industry. The establishment of the Wakamatsu Colony in Gold Country near Coloma in 1869, by refugees fleeing civil war in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area of Japan, begins a story strongly linked to California’s rise as an agricultural force. Also explored are the development of the Yamato Colony during the early 1900s in Merced County, the formation of families and attempts to limit immigration, citizenship and ownership of property for Japanese new to California. The growth of Nihonmachis (Japanese communities) in most of the valley’s towns and cities, from Marysville to Fresno, is one of many rare historical details included in this program.