Mukai Farm and Garden
Year Listed: 2013
The Mukai House and Garden is a significant example of the Japanese American presence on Vashon Island and in the Puget Sound Region. As a young man, B.D. Mukai immigrated to the United States from Japan. Built in 1927, he designed the structure to emulate a typical American rural farmhouse. His wife Kuni designed the surrounding garden as a traditional Japanese stroll garden, which is the only known Japanese Garden of this era designed by a woman. Together, the house and garden represent the blending of two cultures and the aspirations of Japanese American immigrants to realize the American Dream. B.D. and his son, Masahiro, also pioneered a cold barreling process that revolutionized the strawberry industry. The house and garden were sold in the late 1940s after the family’s return from Idaho following WWII. With funding from federal, state and local sources, a non-profit formed to acquire the Mukai House and Garden in 2001. The organization’s mission included restoration of the house and garden, with public tours intended to interpret the Mukai Family and their role in the community. Recently, due to increasing concern over the future stewardship of the resource and emerging questions surrounding its current management, a group of Vashon residents formed Friends of Mukai to work toward the site’s long-term preservation.