Mary Adams Urashima

Mary Adams Urashima is an author, government affairs consultant and freelance writer living in Huntington Beach. She created HistoricWintersburg.blogspot.com to generate more awareness about the history of the Japanese in Orange County, including stories of an area in north Huntington Beach once known as the Wintersburg Village. Urashima is chairing a community effort to preserve the century-old Furuta farm and Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission complex, named to the “America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list in 2014 and designated a “National Treasure” in 2015 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her book, Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, was released by History Press in March 2014.


Updated April 2016

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May 5, 1942: Within days, Civilian Exclusion Orders and saying goodbye in Orange County

Seventy-five years ago, Japanese Americans in Orange County were preparing for Civilian Exclusion Order No. 60 and No. 61. These were the specific military orders from Lt. General J.L. DeWitt (following Executive Order 9066 authorized by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) which directed they present themselves to the “Civil Control Station” in their region to register, prior to incarceration.

Failure to register at a Civil Control Station meant criminal penalties, “immediate apprehension and internment.” Either way, one would be incarcerated.

At the time of the final sermon of the Wintersburg Japanese Church on May 5, 1942,---then marking its 38th ...

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Cherry blossoms and poppies: A 1935 banquet with the Japanese Consul in Huntington Beach

The spring of 1935 was a time of slow financial recovery and international unrest. Adolph Hitler had seized power in Germany in 1933. Japan and Germany left the League of Nations. Dachau, the first of a thousand concentration camps was established. What eventually would be 1,400 German laws aimed at non-Aryans and Jews were in motion. In April 1934, thousands of Americans attended a pro Nazi rally in Queens, New York. By July 1934, 30,000 were imprisoned in Germany.

The unease that spreads in times of financial uncertainty (the Great Depression), environmental devastation (the Dust Bowl), and world ...

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The Marriage that Made Headlines

Imagine having your marriage examined on the front page of metropolitan newspapers across the country and around the world. This was the case for the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission’s first minister and his bride in the winter of 1910, the Reverend Joseph Kenichi Inazawa and Miss Kate Alice Goodman.

What caused all the commotion? Neither of them was a wealthy land baron, railroad tycoon, or royalty. Nor were they notorious for questionable politics or crimes. Both were in their forties and had known each other for some time. Theirs was a marriage between a respected Presbyterian clergyman and a ...

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Wintersburg’s Okuda family and memories of life on the Bolsa Chica Gun Club

The divide between the “haves” and those with less was never more evident in the peatlands than when the gun clubs arrived. Past the western edge of Wintersburg’s farmland, the Bolsa Chica Gun Club was among the most prominent, boasting a wealthy, eclectic membership.

For the Okuda family, the Bolsa Chica Gun Club was home for over two decades. Harry Okuda maintained the landscaping and kitchen gardens, including the yard of chickens being readied for club members’ dinners. Harry arrived at the Gun Club circa 1910 or 1913—coinciding with his arrival in the United States (note: family memories ...

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Sakura: How Cherry Blossom Festivals took root in America

It took two attempts to bring the first gift of cherry trees to the United States from Japan. The first shipment of 2,000 trees in 1910 were not healthy enough to plant. The second shipment of 3,000 trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. in 1912 were a success! It is the recognition of that gift that sparked the National Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin.

It was an idea with roots in the late 19th century, with the writer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore. Scidmore was an aberration. She wrote the ...

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