Kichiro Kitamura Family



Kichiro Kitamura was born on August 9, 1875 probably in Amariko town in Tottori Prefecture where his relatives still live. Around 1893 when he married Fuyuno Nakatani, he adopted her surname. This was a common practice in Japan when a family lacked a son to continue the family surname. Kichiro arrived in San Francisco in December 1905 aboard the Manchuria. He is reported in the 1910 Federal Census as living with several other men who were farming in the Ballona District of Los Angeles County on Adams Street, which is near present day Culver City, California. Among his house mates was his cousin Yoshikichi Kitamura who had arrived in America several years earlier. When Yoshikichi registered for the draft during World War I in 1918, he used the same mailing address as Kichiro. It is possible that Yoshikichi lived with Kichiro in Palos Verdes for a short time. Kichiro’s wife, Fuyuno, never came to California but remained in Amariko town.

In September 1918 Kichiro Nakatani registered for the draft and gave his mailing address as Palos Verdes Ranch, Box 133, Redondo Beach. In the 1920 Federal Census Kichiro was reported as farming in Palos Verdes with his son Takeshi and Takeshi’s wife Teruko. They were named in later documents of the San Pedro Growers’ Association as the lessees of Ranch No. 37.  Ranch No. 37 was on the west side of the peninsula north of Point Vicente. Photographs dated 1917 donated by descendants of the Genbei Yamaguchi family show Kichiro and Takeshi on the Nakatani farm with several visitors and children from neighboring farms.

Kichiro’s son, Takeshi Nakatani, was born on December 28, 1898 in Amariko town, Tottori Prefecture. He arrived alone in Seattle, Washington aboard the Manila Maru in March 1917 at the age of 18 years. Takeshi registered for the draft in 1918 but gave a mailing address on 10th Street (later renamed “Olympic Boulevard”) near Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. Takeshi was attending Washington Street Public School according to the draft registration. His future wife, Teruko Yakura, also arrived in California in 1917 according to the 1920 Federal Census. They were married in an Episcopalian church in Los Angeles in 1920. Together Takeshi and Teruko had four children: Kiyoko (1922), Setsuko (1926), Kaoru (1927) and Isao 1930).  Kichiro left Palos Verdes and returned to Japan sometime during the 1920’s. A ship’s manifest shows Takeshi, Teruko and Kaoru returning from Japan in July 1928. It is possible that they had left the 2 daughters, Kiyoko and Setsuko, to be raised by relatives in Amariko, probably Kichiro and Fuyuno.

The 1930 Federal Census reports that Takeshi, Teruko and Kaoru lived in the Uptown area of Los Angeles on Dewey Avenue near 11th Street. Takeshi had become a gardener for a private residence. Isao was born later that year. A 1940 Japanese language directory reports Takeshi had moved to Irolo Avenue in the same neighborhood. Teruko had taken Kaoru and Isao to Japan in 1937 and stayed there during World War II. Kichiro passed away in Japan in 1942.


During the war Takeshi was placed in the Jerome, Arkansas relocation camp. Later he resettled in West Los Angeles, California and worked as a gardener. He returned to Japan in 1960 where he died in 1979. Teruko died in Japan in 1990.

Kaoru Nakatani died in Japan at the age of 21 in 1948. Takeshi and Teruko’s daughters, Kiyoko and Setsuko, married Japanese citizens and still live in Amariko Town in Tottori Prefecture.

Isao returned to California in 1949. He married Midori Matsumoto in 1955. They later moved to Solana Beach to help the Matsumoto family with their flower growing business which had been in Redondo Beach before World War II. Isao passed away in 2008. Midori and her daughters live in San Clemente.