Why Mukai Matters
The Mukai House and Garden is a national treasure right here on Vashon island. The site
built in 1930, is a synthesis of two cultural influences: the desire of Japanese immigrants to be American and their desire to retain their culture
The Mukai House is a traditional 1920’s Craftsman Style home fronted by a mowed lawn, traditional American garden plantings, and a concrete sidewalk that leads to the house. B.D. Mukai wanted very much to live an American lifestyle, and his desire to be American is reflected in the Mukai House.
Immediately next to this traditional American house and garden is the Mukai Garden, a wonderful Japanese stroll garden bordered by many cherry trees. The Mukai Garden design was closer to Japanese gardens for a home and family rather than the designs of master gardeners that adhere to strict rules of tradition. The garden was designed to share with family and friends and to provide a venue for social gatherings. The garden is historically significant because it was created by a Japanese woman, Kuni Mukai. It is a synthesis of Japanese and American influences because Kuni used Japanese elements of earth, stones and water to form her design, and also used her knowledge of Northwest gardens. Kuni’s desire to retain her Japanese culture is reflected in the Mukai Garden
Visiting Mukai, you immediately see that it’s a place where stories live, hundreds of them. Japanese immigrants making their way in America overcoming adversity and discrimination to build a new life. A woman’s unique vision of blending two cultures. Generations of Japanese Americans who became part of our culture and yet maintained their own. One of the birthplaces of the Northwest’s strawberry and berry processing agricultural industry.
The Friends of Mukai seek to restore the Mukai House and Garden, to reunite it with the Mukai Cold Process Fruit Barreling Plant, and to turn them into a place that celebrates their important role in the immigration and agricultural history of Vashon-Maury Island and the Pacific Northwest.
We want to tell the stories that live at the Mukai Agricultural Complex. We want to keep these historic buildings and gardens from being lost if nothing is done. We want to stabilize, restore and preserve the site. We want to open it up so the community and scholars can gather here to celebrate this place. We want to tell its stories. We want to restore the beautiful gardens that Kuni Mukai created to their original beauty. We want to restore the family bungalow home where people lived and gathered with their neighbors.
We want you to join us to make these goals a reality.