Home Life of Pioneer Day

"The time I came to America, whole West still frontier."

Home Life of Pioneer Day

The time I came to America, whole West still frontier.  Especially Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho were real pioneer condition.  When I came to Yakima there were about ten woman, don’t know, what or how they came.  But except 2-3 mostly experience of the red light district.  First woman came to Wapato was Mrs. Y. Suzuki, wife of the orchardist whose brother in law Mr. Hold of Seattle was a successful hotel man.  He invested money made from hotel, bought and plant several 80 acres tract in Indian reservation to the fruits.  

I determined make Wapato and surrounding country my home, the country is very young there, no building any kind to live in. 1905 fall I bought a little shack, east side of town by railroad and country road, the building about 10 feet by 20 feet very rough, but the time no building at all a very handy. I paid $450 for but we made the shack our headquarter and base of activity. We added some more building and cooked, and rest, time not work. Boys buy beer with bucket and enjoyed, winter with reading, playing cards.

Suzuki’s on Holt orchard was one of, and there was 3-4 woman in Toppenish came from Hawaii.  When my wife arrived from Japan there were about three woman in Wapato district.  After my wife, Kazama, Matsushita, Takagi, Taniguchi, and other arrived and Japanese community get more cheerful, and afterward so called picture bride, many, many followed and community became more established. 


It was real pioneer life. The house were very crude, because build by self without any help from a carpenter, and open well with a basket to draw water up. Very few furniture, and the household equipment and tools. Still advance from my first camp life in Alviso California. There no stove, but oilcan cut top and side makeshift stove. Everything were very primitive. So on put a pump into well and everything get better, but nobody dream present day kitchen of push button type of water work in kitchen. Most of the women work in the field with men folks. There was no licensed midwife to help childbirth, and doctors sometime hard to get. Many husband had to do midwife’s duty or woman’s help each other in case of child birth. Some woman have to work outside, had no time to take care of children, so leave their pants button open all the time, so child can do what he must by self.  One time Dr. Saiki, Japanese doctor practice medicine in Wapato, come to our house, won’t a meal he said, the place he had been called so dirty, they offered the food, but could not eat there. 

“In the streets there are many educated Japanese young men. But they walking or living as stray sheep, because they don’t know what they should do, or can do.”

Change of the Mind

In the streets there are many educated Japanese young men. But they walking or living as stray sheep, because they don’t know what they should do, or can do. To lead these young men to farm and build up new Japan in America – real man’s job. Farming only thing we can do with decent, and hope of future in present social condition. I should, to do and I have well to do even my ability very low. From that time I change my mind to stay in US instead of go to Japan.

Introduction of Yakima Valley

Winter of 1905, real winter set in. Snow and cold weather made us stay home in leisure. I wrote the essay entitled “Introducing Yakima Valley and appeal to ambitious brethren” and send to Japanese paper in Seattle “North American Daily” and the essay appeared on paper for a week or ten days. While in California I feel many educated Japanese have no fixed aim in their life, living like a stray sheep, and many of degenerate, unspeakable. In northwest these tendency worse than California, one reason life of northwest rougher than California. The job for Japanese in the time limited to railroad and saw mills in outside and dishwasher or porter of saloon and chambermaid, kitchen help in hotel. 


All of very unpleasant. The farming in northwest still very infancy. Object my essay was let young Japanese know about Yakima Valley. I gathered all kind of data and facts about climate, soil, transportation, market, and variety of crops grown and can be grown, and way to start up farming operation, urging them to come and do things worth while. With my youthful zeal and sincerity. Thus my little essay give all kind of Japanese people deep impression, because it is timely. Especially the ministers of the churches for they had been working for young newcomer without any idea how and where to lead them, where to lead them. Thus my essay were read all over northwest, give more impression to young men. About 2 year later I went Portland, Oregon. People do not knew my identification ask me about my person, and talking about my essay.

words by Zenkichi Kikuchi, 1880 - 1965
read in 日本語