Sno-Isle Genealogical Society

The Sounder

Serving Snohomish and Island County Genealogists
for over Twenty Years

Sounder Banner Graphic by David Raney



Japanese Heritage Marker - Mukilteo

The monument is located at Mukilteo's Heritage Park, 1126 5th Street. Mr. Odoi was instrumental
 in establishing this monument.

The inscription on the plaque reads:

Historic Mukilteo:
Model of Racial Harmony

Commemorating: The hospitality of early Mukilteo residents to families of Japanese workers at Crown Lumber Co.

The Japanese lived near this marker in an area known as Japanese Gulch from 1903 until the 1930s, when the sawmill closed during the Great Depression.

The origami crane is a symbol of peace and happiness.

This memorial honors the warm friendship of Japanese American children with their Mukilteo peers.

Erected on May 30, 2000 by
Mukilteo Historical Society
City of Mukilteo
Mukilteo Japanese Americans”

Japanese Gulch, 1920s

Computer graphic created by Mas Odoi. He says: “When we moved away, we never found a place as nice to live” (quoted in Margaret RIDDLE’s 2007 essay on Mukilteo History at, essay #8442).

Japanese Gulch in 2008
The creek (above) ran through the center of town and had deep trout pools. The aerial photo (from Google, right) shows the bridge over the railroad spur leading from the BNSF tracks to the Boeing plant.


Located on 33,500 acres of Federal Reclamation Project land in Jerome County, Idaho, in the remote high desert north of the Snake River, the Minidoka Relocation Center was in operation from 1942 to 1945. Its mostly urban population was drawn primarily from King and Pierce Counties, WA, and from the Portland area; it peaked at over 9,000 on March 1, 1943. A total of 13, 078 detainees were processed through this camp. They lived in barracks and shared communal facilities, attended and taught school, and engaged in light manufacturing, agriculture, and livestock production in order to provide food and clothing for the camp. About eight percent of eligible male citizens were inducted directly into the U.S. Military.

Now in Minidoka County, Idaho, the former internment camp was established as a National Monument in 2001, and, as one of the newest units of the National Park Service, it does not have any visitor facilities or services available. Currently, visitors see the remains of the entry guard station, waiting room, and rock garden and can visit the Relocation Center Display at the Jerome County Museum in nearby Jerome and the restored barracks building at the Idaho Farm and Ranch Museum southeast of town.

Honor Roll of Japanese-American Servicemen from Minidoka.
The young woman in uniform is unidentified.

Odoi Family Portrait: the parents are George Teichi Odoi and Chikaye (née Kobayashi) Odoi. The twin sons are Hiroshi (on the left) and Masaru “Mas” Odoi. The daughter is Miriam Odoi, now Miriam Okamura. The parents sailed as newlyweds from Japan to Puget Sound in 1903; Mas and Hiroshi were born in 1921 in Japanese Gulch.

For more information on the life of the Japanese in Mukilteo see the essays by Margaret RIDDLE, nos. 8442 and 8446 at, as well as the sources cited by Margaret at the end of the essays.

The text and photos by Mas Odoi have been reprinted in The Sounder by permission of Mas Odoi, and Bev Schreiber and John Petroff of the Mukilteo Historical Society, where they may be found on the MHS website:


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