• Chiyo's Garden



Visit Chiyo’s Garden on our Touch of Chinatown Tour, available Tuesday through Saturday, and by reservation for private groups. The Garden is located off Nihonmachi Alley in Japantown, mid-block on the north side of Jackson Street between 6th and Maynard Avenues.

Explore a garden honoring the Murakami family’s daughter Chiyo. Reflect on both historic Nihonmachi, or Japantown, and the personal stories — like Chiyo’s — behind it.

幸运快3Chiyo Murakami, born in 1915, was the second-oldest daughter of Sanzo and Matsuyo Murakami, who originally built the Jackson Building. She died tragically young at age 22, succumbing to tuberculosis in an upstairs room in the Jackson Building on January 3, 1937.

The Wing partnered with the Murakami family and  in 2012 to transform a plot of land behind the Jackson Building into Chiyo’s Garden, pay tribute to Chiyo and her siblings, and evoke the spirit of children growing up in Nihonmachi。

Nihonmachi Fence

he Garden’s Nihonmachi Fence shows the growth, decline and rebirth of the community。 Each vertical slat represents one year in the life of Seattle’s Japanese American community。 The height of the opening in each slat corresponds to the community’s population at that time。 The Fence starts in 1896 with the arrival of the Miike-Maru, the first commercial steamship from Japan carrying 253 Japanese immigrants。 It ends in 2013 with the opening of the Garden。

Here’s a timeline of events to use as a reference for years marked on the Fence:

1880s – The first Japanese laborers arrive in the Northwest.

1886 – Alien Land Law is passed barring aliens from owning land.

1889 – Washington achieves statehood.

1890 – 125 IN SEATTLE

1896 – Steamship Miike-Maru arrives in Seattle and begins regular commercial service between the U.S. and Japan.

1900 – 2,990 IN SEATTLE

1905 – Asiatic Exclusion League formed to oust Japanese.

1907-1908 – Gentlemen’s Agreement restricts immigration of Japanese laborers. A loophole allows Japanese “picture brides” to come to America and the community continues to grow.

1910 – 6,127 IN SEATTLE

1920 – 7,874 IN SEATTLE

1920 – Under pressure from the U.S., Japan stops issuing passports for “picture brides.”

1922 – Japanese aliens are denied right to naturalization in U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

1924 – Immigration Act of 1924 excludes all Asian immigrants except Filipinos.

1930 – 8,448 IN SEATTLE

1929-1930s – Era of the Great Depression. Seattle’s Japanese American population reaches its peak, but the Depression soon causes it to shrink.

1930 – Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) formed.

1940 – 6,975 IN SEATTLE

1940 – Construction of the Yesler Terrace public housing project in Seattle demolishes the eastern half of Japantown.

1941 – 
December 7 – Japan’s military attacks a U.S. military base in Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawai‘i. U.S. declares war on Japan.

December 8 – The FBI begins to arrest Issei (first generation) leaders in several West Coast cities. Issei bank accounts are frozen and business licenses revoked.

1942 – 
February 19 – Executive Order 9066 is signed into law and sets in motion the forced removal of Nikkei (Japanese legal resident aliens and Japanese American citizens) from the West Coast.

Mid-March – A curfew is imposed on Nikkei to be home by 8pm and not leave their homes until 6am.

March 30 – Nikkei from Bainbridge Island are the first group to be “evacuated。”

March and May – In separate incidences, Attorney Minoru Yasui and Gordon Hirabayashi test constitutionality of the curfew orders, while Fred Korematsu is arrested for violating detention orders。

April 21 – “Evacuation” notices go up in Nikkei neighborhoods in Seattle.

April 28, 30 and May 1 – Seattle Nikkei are removed to “Camp Harmony,” an assembly center housed in the Western Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup.

Spring – Over 110,000 Nikkei from the major West Coast U。S。 cities have been removed to assembly centers, to be taken to more permanent “camps” that are being built in the U。S。 interior。

1943 – The all-volunteer Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team is organized. Because they were given dangerous assignments and fought heroically, they became the most decorated unit for their size in U.S. history.

1944 – Closure of the U.S. concentration camps begins. Some Nikkei families are granted early release and begin the return to West Coast cities.

1945 – U.S. drops atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). It is the end of World War II.

1946 – The last U.S. concentration camp is closed.

1950 – 5,778 IN SEATTLE

1952 – The Walter-McCarran Act cancels the 1924 Immigration Act and repeals racial restrictions on naturalization. Issei are now allowed to become U.S. citizens through naturalization.

1960 – 9,351 IN SEATTLE

1960s – Construction of the I-5 freeway cuts through Japantown, paving over many long-standing hotels, family homes and businesses.

1970 – 10,441 IN SEATTLE

1976 – Executive Order 9066 is formally terminated by President Gerald Ford.

1978 – Nikkei pilgrimage planned by Seattle and Portland area activists to Puyallup’s “Camp Harmony” is well attended by Issei, Nisei (second generation) and their children. This marks the first Day of Remembrance, observed annually on February 19.

1980 – 9,762 IN SEATTLE

1980-1981 – President Jimmy Carter creates the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to document the experience of Nikkei during World War II. The Commission concludes the incarceration was a “grave injustice” resulting from “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”

1988 – President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, also known as the Redress Bill.

1989 – President George Bush signs Entitlement Bill to commit federal money for redress payments to Nikkei who were in U.S. concentration camps during World War II.

1990 – 9,847 IN SEATTLE

1990 – October – Seattle’s Nikkei community witnesses the presentation of a letter of apology and redress payments to the five oldest surviving Japanese Americans who were in the U.S. concentration camps.

2000 – 8,979 IN SEATTLE

2010 – 7,913 IN SEATTLE

Present – Annual pilgrimages continue to several incarceration sites as Nikkei remember, heal and teach others in hopes that it never happen again

Growing Up in Nihonmachi

Emiko Aramaki grew up in Seattle’s Nihonmachi in the late 1930s. Her family moved to Seattle after they sold their farm in Bellevue. Her father ran a food market on S. Main Street and 5th Avenue S., and Emiko attended Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, which was then located on 12th Avenue S. and S. Weller Street. She would go to Higo 10 Cents Store to buy toys, books, paper dolls and school supplies. She and her friends would play in what is now Chiyo’s Garden, making houses and forts out of cardboard boxes. They would also play hide-and-seek and read comic books.
Listen to Emiko talk about growing up in Nihonmachi and playing at the Higo 10 Cents Store:

Emiko also recalls the different businesses in Nihonmachi, including Sagamiya, the Japanese confectionery shop:

幸运快3Excerpts from interview by Ken Mochizuki, 2013

Sponsors and Community Partners

With generous support from The Wing Donors, ArtPlace, State of Washington Heritage Capital Projects Fund administered by the Washington State Historical Society, and the City of Seattle.

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