Masaki Tanaka Family


Masaki Tanaka was born on October 17, 1874 in Kumamoto Prefecture. He immigrated to California in 1902 according to the 1920 Federal Census. Mr. Tanaka’s wife, Kaori (Saiki), arrived in 1912 according to that Census. Masaki registered for the World War I draft in 1918 and reported that his residence was on 26th Street in San Pedro. The margin notes for the 1920 Census indicated that he lived on 25th Street. This would have placed the farm on the bluff above White Point.

Their children were: Hiroshi born in 1913; Fumiye, 1914; Shigeo, 1918; Kimiye, 1922; and Ineko, 1924.

In the 1930 Federal Census Masaki’s farm was described as on the Sepulveda Estates on the top of the hill west of Western Avenue. Apparently Masaki had moved his farm to higher ground on the eastern slope of San Pedro Hill.

The children attended school in San Pedro. Fumiye attended Showa Girls’ School in Tokyo after she had graduated from San Pedro High School in 1934. She returned to San Pedro in 1936. She married Tomotaro Nishizaki in 1937 and moved to Los Angeles.

When WWII started, the family except for Fumiye and her husband were interned in Poston. Tomotaro and Fumiye went to Amache, Colorado. According to Fumiye’s oral history, they had an opportunity to visit the family near the end of their internment.

The family returned to Los Angeles where Tomotaro restarted the Yano Crate Company while Fumiye and her parents operated Mary’s Store in East Los Angeles where they sold snacks. Later they added chop suey to the menu and soon after that they began selling tempura shrimp.

Masaki died in December 1950. Kaori died in October 1984 in Montebello. Shigeo died in 1997 in Santa Barbara, California.

All the family members except for Ineko have been identified in the 40 Families photo. Masaki (113), Kaori (146), Kimiye (147), Fumiye (148), Hiroshi (184), Shigeo (185).