Culminating a multi-year struggle, an April 4 decision by the Washington State Court of Appeals effectively transferred full legal ownership of the Mukai House and Garden back to the Friends of Mukai.
The Mukai House and Garden is a venerated and important property, which symbolizes the importance and historical significance of Vashon Island’s Japanese population. The Mukais owned and operated a large and successful agricultural commercial business that employed many local workers growing and packing strawberries.
The Mukai family, as well as many other Japanese families on Vashon, were an integral part of the Island’s culture.
This community was devastated by the impact of the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“This defining Appeals Court decision enables Friends of Mukai to reclaim and restore the Mukai House and Garden for the benefit of the greater community,” said Lynn Greiner, president of Friends of Mukai and member of the legal team securing the victory.
Ellen Kritzman, a community activist who was a founding board member of Friends of Mukai, added, “I am delighted and gratified that we can finally engage all interested participants in restoration, interpretation, and enjoyment of the historic Mukai House and Garden as our legacy for the future.”
With ownership of the property secured, Friends of Mukai can move forward to safeguard the site and begin restoration of both the home and gardens, including completing a historic architectural assessment, cataloging the home’s contents, and recovering missing archives. Friends of Mukai is also planning an open house giving the community the opportunity to visit the home and garden and to re-enlist the community and its many supporters in embracing the future of this historical landmark.