Watercolor by Eitaro Shiraishi

Eitaro Shiraishi (1878-1967)

Eitaro Shiraishi was born in 1878 in Tomai Mura in Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan. He was married and had two daughters who he left when he came to the United States through Hawaii in 1905 and later went to San Francisco. His wife, Taiju, joined him in 1911 and they moved to Seattle to raise strawberries and tomatoes on a small farm in Bryn Maur in the Lakeridge area. They eventually moved to a farm in the Newport area of Bellevue where they and their daughter, Mitsue, who had been born in Seattle, raised strawberries, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

In 1942 the Shiraishi family was sent to Pinedale “Assembly Center” in California and then sent to Tule Lake concentration camp in northern California and later transferred to Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho. After their release in August 1945, they returned to their home in Bellevue and found that their stored possessions had been destroyed in a suspected arson fire.

While in the incarceration camps, Eitaro worked with scrap lumber to make furniture for the family’s sparsely furnished barrack home. He also enjoyed creating artwork out of whatever he cold find around the camp.

Watercolor by Eitaro Shiraishi

Watercolor by Eitaro Shiraishi