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Exhibition Opening Gambatte Kimashita: Japanese Flower Growers of the Salinas Valley

Friday, September 7, 2018 5 – 9pm

Japan Flower Growers exhibit and documentary premiere flyer
Japan Flower Growers exhibit and documentary premiere flyer

Exhibition! Documentary Film Premiere! Flower Arrangement! Tea Ceremony! Sushi Making! Origami Workshops!

CSUMB Salinas Center for Arts and Culture, 1 Main Street, Salinas, CA,93901 https://csumb.edu/artscenter (831) 772-7020 Salinas Center Event on Facebook

In 2013, the Salinas Valley Japanese American Citizens League (SVJACL) initiated the SVJACL History Project – Japanese Flowers Growers in the Salinas Valley – in order to capture the stories of the Japanese immigrants who arrived in California after World War II and built a successful flower growing industry in the Salinas Valley.

The SVJACL team interviewed fourteen flower growers whose interviews are featured a documentary film, a curriculum developed for application in Japanese language classes, and an exhibition.

The exhibition, Gambatte Kimashita: Japanese Flower Growers of the Salinas Valley will be open Monday - Friday, 10 – 5 from September 7, 2018 – January 16, 2019.

“Having saved money after time, we were committed to putting down roots here in our adoptive country, and the idea of owning land and growing flowers started to blossom…”
- Yoshito and Tomi Matsuno

The exhibition includes a historical overview of the flower grower community in the Salinas Valley, beginning with the establishment of other Japanese flower growers in other parts of California, the impact on immigration policy around the time of World War II, and the reopening of the country after the war that allowed for a new group of entrepreneurs to arrive and establish their own businesses. It will speak about the personal experiences of the flower growers, the challenges they faced, the communities they built, and their participation in the wider Salinas community.

The exhibition includes historical photography, objects and hand-painted maps. There will also be a large greenhouse, tended to by students from Salinas High School.

Main Street into Gambatte Kimashita Exhibit-click to see event photos
Main Street into Gambatte Kimashita Exhibit-click to see event photos

The exhibit was curated by the community with support from Elizabeth Welden-Smith. It is a collaboration of the SVJACL, CSUMB’s School of World Languages and Cultures and the CSUMB Salinas Center for Arts and Culture.

Program Series: The exhibition will include a programmatic series exploring the history of this community and Japanese-American culture. For the opening night, the Center will feature demonstrations and workshops in sushi making, taiko drumming, traditional tea ceremonies, ikebana flower arranging, and origami making. There will also be the premiere the documentary film, “Gambatte Kimashita: Japanese Flower Growers in the Salinas Valley” created by CSUMB alumnus Eric Palmer.

This event is free, will take place in English, Japanese and Spanish and is open to all.

The Center will also feature the unveiling of the new Hijos del Sol Chamacos mural, Peña Cultural’s open mic for music, poetry and art and the ongoing Existimos/We Exist exhibition centering on foster youth.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

Download the flyer

For more information, please contact:

  • Shigeko Sekine, Chair, School of World Languages and Cultures, CSUMB, (831) 582-4308 ssekine@csumb.edu
  • Enid Ryce, Director, CSUMB Salinas Center for Arts and Culture, (831) 737-3566, eblader@csumb.edu

Learn more about JFG

Fusako Yonemitsu (bottom row) and Tomi Matsuno (top row) with employees .
Fusako Yonemitsu (bottom row) and Tomi Matsuno (top row) with employees .
Isao Eitoku with children, Amy, Jimmy and Lori at Sam’s Greenhouse, January 1969
Isao Eitoku with children, Amy, Jimmy and Lori at Sam’s Greenhouse, January 1969
Mrs. Kiyoko Uchida, James Uchida, Alesia Uchida, and Alan Uchida.
Mrs. Kiyoko Uchida, James Uchida, Alesia Uchida, and Alan Uchida.
JFG image Growing a Community Pioneers of the Japanese-American Floral Industry

School of World Languages and Cultures

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