FIRST JAPANESE SETTLERS IN SAINT LOUIS
The first recorded Japanese settler in Saint Louis came here during
the 1904 World’s Fair. Yukinoba Yamamoto ran a concession stand
in Forest Park during the World’s Fair. As a part of the World’s
Fair, a Japanese Imperial Garden was built. Situated on a hillside in
Forest Park, the garden and pavilion were built with materials and workers
straight from Japan.
Yukinoba Yamamoto- Robert Elkington
H. Tanaka- Joe, Charles, and Edward
Ben and Mary Kadowaki- Mae Marshall
Inukai- Joe Inukai
Tom Uyeda- Vivian Reisinger
Harry Uyeda- bachelor
Charles Miura- bachelor
Dr. Tshuchiya- no children
|An ariel view of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis shows the Japanese pavilion and the Japanese garden on the hill.|
|Mr. Yukinoba Yamamoto is the first known Japanese American settler in St. Louis. Here he is in July 1968, after he received a medal from the Japanese government for his contribution to Japanese-American relations.|
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR THE FIRST JAPANESE SETTLERS IN SAINT LOUIS?
We can assume Japanese settlers came to St. Louis to build a comfortable life for themselves and their families. We know from testimonies that several early Japanese settlers in St. Louis opened small businesses.
H. Tanaka opened Pig Meat Restaurant, at Market and Jefferson in downtown Saint Louis. Ben Kadowaki and Inuaki both had American- style restaurants. Ben Kadowaki opened Eagle Restaurant in 1934, on the corner of Jefferson and Market. The Kadowaki’s came to the United States in 1918 and moved to Saint Louis in 1933.
In an oral history taken with Mae Marshall, the daughter of Ben Kadowaki, she describes their life in Saint Louis prior to and during World War II. Mae Marshall was born on August 5, 1935, at St. Louis Central Hospital. She has lived in Saint Louis her entire life.