Kazuo and Masuko Kamiya as Children


This photograph, taken about 1920, shows two young children of the Yamato Colony, a farming community in south Florida founded by Japanese immigrant Jo Sakai in 1905 with the encouragement of Florida authorities, who thought the Japanese would introduce innovative farming methods and new crops. Yamato was an ancient name for Japan. The community was located in what is now Boca Raton, and the farmers grew pineapples and later winter vegetables. Jo Sakai encouraged young men from his Japanese village, Miyazu, to settle at Yamato, a prospect that appealed to several hundred immigrants, as industrialization and shortages of land had made farming in Japan increasingly difficult. Many of the settlers did not stay for long; some went back to Japan and others moved elsewhere for greater opportunities, including to the west coast of the United States. Few of the Japanese settlers remained by World War II. In 1942, not long after the Pearl Harbor attack, when anti-Japanese sentiment was at a peak, the federal government confiscated land belonging to the settlers —more than 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares)—to create an Army Air Corp training base, ending the Yamato Colony. A former Yamato Colony settler, George Morikami, farmed in Delray Beach until the 1970s, when he donated his land to Palm Beach County to establish what became the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.

Last updated: October 17, 2011