Ron Yoshino and his daughter Brooke visited the StoryCorps Booth is East Los Angeles to talk about Ron’s upbringing on the Yamato Colony, a Japanese American Christian farming community in central California that was founded in 1904. On the land, they harvested grapes, peaches, and other fruits, until Japanese Americans across the country were forced into relocation during World War II. Unlike most Japanese Americans, who lost their land, businesses, and homes during the war years, the Yamato Colony was able to keep their title due to a loop hole in the Alien Land Law, and returned to farm the land after the war.
Ron’s parent’s generation, the Nisei, second generation Japanese Americans, encouraged their children to go away to college, and most left the land, never to return to the life of farming. After the last death of the last Nisei at Yamato, Ron says, “We will have no reason to go to our little little Yamato Colony, but to visit the graves of our parents. Ultimately, it will be no more… a memory. But its passing is a tribute to the Japanese Americans who provided well for their children, so that they would not be stuck in the same circumstances over and over again. Its children no longer need the protection of that all Japanese community. Because of the success of their grandparents and parents, they can find a larger and wider place in the American society.”