Posted on 17 Feb.,2019



Script of the Documentary Movie "Dream Blossoms" 2nd Edition



Born and raised in Ichiki-Kushikino city, Kagoshima, Zenichiro Uchida is known as, "The Father of Immigrants". This story is not his alone. It is the story of the men and their family that Zenichiro helped immigrate to the United States more than 60 years ago.




 During early 1950's, young men in Japan could not find jobs or own their own land.
Zenichiro felt that the only way for these men to provide for their families and support themselves was to go to America where wages were better and the land was abundant.
He went to America for one year as part of the Agricultural Trainee Program. While in America, he learned about the Refugee Relief Act where if you qualify as refugee status due to the natural disaster in the early 1950s you are eligible. Prior to this Act, there was a US law that was established that barred Asians from immigrating to America called the "Asian Exclusion Act of 1924".
However, upon further investigating, he discovered that Europeans were let into USA via the "the Refugee Relief Act". During that time, Asians in the US began lobbying for their own "Asian Relief Act", proposing to Congress to allow 3000 visas granted to Asian Americans. Because of lobbyist Mike Masaoka’s (an ally to Zenichiro) efforts, he lobbied on their behalf and was granted 1000 visas for Japan.
Knowing this information, Zenichiro asked both the Japanese and US government to recognize the farmers in the Kagoshima regions as being eligible for the Refugee Relief Act, but was rejected.
However, Zenichiro continued to lobby the US Embassy to admit the men of Kagoshima as refugees. Luckily, the Kagoshima men were able to attain refugee status due to a typhoon (Ruth Typhoon) that had hit the region in the early 1950s.
As Zenichiro continued to work on getting more visas, rumors began to circulate in his hometown of Kushikino (where Anti-American sentiment had grown during the war) that young farmers were being sold as slaves. To make matters worse, his father and his family were threatened by those opposed to Zenichiro’s efforts. Despite his setbacks, word of Zenichiro’s work spread and many more applications were submitted to him.
One day, a friend of Zenichiro called to let him know that JACL lobbyist Mike Masaoka would be visiting Tokyo. Mike Masaoka was a JACL lobbyist from Washington DC and worked to help both Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals with visas.
Their meeting resulted in the inclusion of the Ruth Typhoon victims as part of the Refugee Relief Act. The Kagoshima immigrants were granted refugee status.
From 1955 to 1956, 333 men immigrated to America from the Kagoshima prefecture. They boarded the chartered airplanes and stopped in Hawaii before landing in San Francisco.
This was such a momentous occasion for Japan that their journey was reported on in national newspapers, even going as far as being dubbed the " Flying Refugee Immigrants".





 Yoshito Matsuno, who was from Kanmuridake Village in Kushikino City, was sent to a labor camp in Marysville, CA, and worked in the orchards.
The living quarters of the labor camp where he was sent to were in poor condition. During the summer at the labor camp, temperatures would climb as high as 100 degrees F. Despite the harsh conditions, he continued to work hard and sent whatever money he could to his family in Japan.
Other immigrants shared similar experiences and finished their contracts in 3 years to gain citizenship.


 Zenichiro moved to Salinas, CA, the home of Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, to build a major area production for cut flowers. In Salinas, there were many Japanese Americans living there before WWII.
During the war, it was at the battle of Bataan in the Philippines that many local soldiers from the Salinas Valley became casualties and prisoners of war.
Because of this, many people began to hold anti-Japanese sentiments.
As Zenichiro learned of this history, he formed a partnership with the Shibata Brothers of the Mt. Eden Wholesale Nursery to learn from the best growers to help fulfill his dream of owning his own floral business.
As Kagoshima Immigrants learned of the nursery business boom, many in California decided to follow his lead and move to Salinas.



内田善一郎の一つの夢が叶ったのである。しかし、そんな鹿児島村も、80年代後半、南米での花栽培産業が盛んになり、徐々に衰退。 そして、98年、突然鹿児島村に不幸な知らせがもたらされた米満勇蔵の死だった。重度の鬱と、アルコール依存に悩まされた挙句、自ら命を絶ってしまった。


  2016年11月、ロサンゼルスで、鹿児島難民移住者による60周年記念パーティが開かれた。1世パイオニア達の多くはすでに他界、そこには善一郎の姿はなく、10年前に亡くなる直前に記録されたメッセージビデオが上映された。そのビデオを興味深く見つめるのは2世、3世ら若い世代だ。内田善一郎の息子、2世のテッド内田は父の願いである「平和の天使を育てる」ことを旨とし活動を続けている。マーガレット宮内はアメリカで一番最初に生まれた2世でこのパーティの責任者となった。父、宮内武幸は今年91歳で最高齢者の一人、父の鹿児島県人としての 生き方に誇りを持っていると語る。


 On November 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, the 60th Anniversary Celebration for Kagoshima Immigrants was held in Little Tokyo.
Although many Issei pioneers, including Zenichiro, were no longer alive, and attendees were able to watch a video message from Zenichiro, which had been made 10 years prior at the 50th anniversary where Nisei and Sansei were watching it with great interest.

 Margaret Miyauchi Leong was the first Nisei born among the Kagoshima Immigrants and she was one of the organizers for this event.
Her father, Takeyuki Miyauchi, was from Kushikino. After his stay at the labor camp, many of his friends had decided to continue working in the gardening business. Miyauchi, however, went a different direction. With his experience in Japan working at the stock exchange, he decided to work in the stocks and bonds business. Miyauchi was very proud of the Kagoshima immigrants and decided to keep record of the Kagoshima immigrants.
He was seen by many as the official historian of their stories.




しかし、松野義人のグリーンハウスは現在、サリナスに唯一残った日系ナーサリーとなった。 このグリーンハウスを支えるのは長女ジャネット松野だ。

 Meanwhile in Salinas, due to the legalization of Marijuana 2-3 years ago, many of the greenhouses were bought out by Marijuana growers.
The "Old Kagoshima Village" no longer exists. However, the greenhouses operated by Yoshito Matsuno is the only flower grower left among the Kagoshima growers. His daughter, Janet Matsuno, along with her husband Curtis Loui, are responsible for running the daily operation of the Matsuno greenhouse businesses in Salinas.
She grew up in a trailer house next to the greenhouse where she would help her parents throughout her young life until she left for college. In her youth, she would go to a Japanese language school on Saturdays. She felt that the life in Salinas was somewhat of a "closed society". She felt that she was missing something in her life.
After graduating from college, she decided to go to Japan. While she lived in Japan, over the course of three years, she learned of her family’s roots and was able to visit the home of where her father grew up. While she was there, her parents’ greenhouses caught fire and their business was in jeopardy.
She returned to America to help her family business and to build it back to become one of the premier Rose growers in the US and sells their flowers all over the world.

Producer & script by Junzo Arai
Copyright: Kagoshima Foundation(LA)