Yamato Colony: The Pioneers Who Brought Japan to Florida

Item # 158107.

Written by Ryusuke Kawai. Translated by John Gregersen and Reiko Nishioka.

Opening a window onto the little-known Japanese-American heritage of Florida, Yamato Colony  is the true tale of a daring immigrant venture that left behind an  important legacy. Ryusuke Kawai tells how a Japanese farming settlement  came to be in south Florida, far from other Japanese communities in the  United States.   

Kawai’s captivating story takes readers back  to the early twentieth century, a time when Japanese citizens were  beginning to look to possibilities for individual wealth and success  overseas. Poor, unlucky in love, and dreaming of returning rich to marry  his sweetheart, a young man named Sukeji Morikami boarded a passenger  steamer at the port of Yokohama and set off to make his fortune.   

Morikami  was drawn by promises from his compatriot Jo Sakai, founder of an  agricultural community called Yamato between Boca Raton and Delray  Beach, Florida. Sakai extolled the prospects of raising pineapples and  other crops amid the state’s economic boom and exciting developments  like Flagler’s East Coast Railway. This book follows the experiences of  Morikami and his fellow Yamato settlers through World War II, when the  struggling colony closed for good. Morikami held on to his hopes for  Yamato until the end, when at last, the lone survivor, he donated the  land that would become the widely visited Morikami Museum and Japanese  Gardens.   

Celebrating the lives of ordinary men and women who  left their homes and traveled an enormous distance to settle and raise  their families in Florida, this book brings to light a unique moment in  the state’s history that few people know about today.   

Paper: 208 pp.




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