Otomatsu Maye Family



Otomatsu Maye was born on September 26, 1873 Takaike Town in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The Federal Censuses reported various dates for his entry into the U.S. (1896 in the 1920 Census) but the only immigration record to be found gives June 17, 1907 as his entry from Vancouver, British Columbia. He was single, 35 years old and listed as a farm laborer.

On his World War I draft registration (1918) he listed Marie as his wife and gave a San Pedro Post Office Box as his address. He was described as “tall and slender”, which was unusual for Japanese at the time. In 1919 he returned from a trip to Japan aboard the Katori Maru. He apparently went to visit a friend in his hometown in Wakayama. The ship’s record listed his height as 5’5”. However, curiously it also listed him as “single”. Also aboard the Katori Maru were Hikojiro and Namie Inumaru who farmed nearby in the Portuguese Bend area.

According to the 1920 Census Otomatsu’s wife was a German immigrant who was one year his senior. The Census listed Otomatsu as “Otto”. His and Marie’s farm was in the Portuguese Bend area on Ranch Number 9 near the Tomizo Ishibashi farm. Nothing is known about Marie Maye after 1920.

By the time of the 1930 Federal Census he had married Yoshino Chinaka, a young woman with two children by a former marriage. In 1930 he lived in the Rowland Township near present-day Avocado Heights which is northeast of the intersection of the San Gabriel River Freeway and the Pomona Freeway. His stepchildren George Shizuo and Kikue adopted the Maye surname. He apparently continued to live in the same area until 1941 according to the 1940 directory published by the Rafu Shimpo newspaper.

In 1942 the family was sent to the Pomona Assembly Center and then to Heart Mountain Wyoming. The family returned to the Los Angeles area after the war. They lived in the West Adams area according to a 1952 travel record. Yoshino died in 1961 in Los Angeles.

In 1963 Otomatsu married the widow of another former Palos Verdes farmer. Kane Muraguchi had been married to Otosaburo Muraguchi who also farmed in the Portuguese Bend area in 1920. In 1972 Otomatsu died in Los Angeles. Kane died in 1974. His stepson George Shizuo died in 1992 after living in Westminster, California for a number of years. Kikue Maye was last reported residing in an assisted living facility in Los Angeles.