History of Japanese Americans in Texas: The Kagawa Family

The Kagawa Family

Among the foremen on the Onishi colony was Yonekichi Kagawa, a top graduate of an agricultural college in Japan. He came to Texas in 1904, and in 1913, he returned to Japan to marry Kichi Murakomi. The couple moved to Pierce, TX the following year to farm under Onishi, before moving to Webster, TX. The tale of the Kagawa family is told through Kichi’s diaries (accessible below), which her niece, Sumiko Murao, translated to English and shared with the Japanese American Citizens League. While the entries below are not dated and the timeline is a bit unclear, we nonetheless see Kichi’s efforts to maintain her ties to Japanese culture by making manjus and kimonos, but we also catch glimpses of her loneliness despite raising 12 children. The following quote from Kichi’s correspondence with Sumiko, not long before Kichi passed away in 1995, poignantly captures her feelings:

“It makes me weep when I imagine that my children will live their lives in America as Americans, without knowing anything about Japan after I die.”