Mukilteo honors role Japanese played in city

  • Fri Jun 4th, 2010 10:43pm
  • News

By Oscar Halpert Herald Writer

MUKILTEO — Japanese immigrants played a big role in the history of this city.

From 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. tomorrow the city, Mukilteo Historical Society and Mukilteo Way Garden Club will recognize their contributions during the Mukilteo Japanese Memorial Remembrance at Centennial Park, 1126 Fifth St.

The event is part of the 2010 Mukilteo Sesquicentennial, a celebration of the 150-year history since the arrival of the first non-native settlers.

“The Japanese population is very integrated into the history of Mukilteo,” historical society President John Petroff said.

Featured speakers include Mas Odoi, a decorated World War II veteran and Japanese-American who was born in Japanese Gulch; and state Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds.

The memorial starts off with presentations by Mukilteo Storytellers and actors portraying historical figures.

Christopher Summitt, a historical society board member, will be master of ceremonies. He’ll also portray Mukilteo co-founder Joseph Fowler.

“So many people came from so many different places and managed to get along here and took time to really get to know each other,” he said.

In the early 20th century, the Crown Lumber Co. recruited Japanese workers. Eventually, 150 Japanese immigrants lived in the gulch, making up about half the city’s population, Petroff said.

Serene Lake Elementary School’s Sea Otter Choir will perform. Shuttle van service will be available from Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave. to the park. A reception will be held after the memorial at Tin Fish Restaurant, 204 Lincoln Ave.

Oscar Halpert: 425-339-3429; ohalpert@heraldnet.com

Why is it called Japanese Gulch?

In an award-winning Herald series in 2006, Japanese Gulch was remembered by Mas Odoi, who was born and raised in the part of town that has since become lost to history. Odoi and his brother Hiro served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. Army during World War II. Go to tinyurl.com/OdoiPart1 and tinyurl.com/OdoiPart2 to read the complete story.