Family Stories: The Kawai's

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Oct 200916

Pasadena Museum of History
470 W Walnut St
Pasadena, California, 91103
United States

Tour the exhibit about the local Japanese American family, the Kawai's, followed by lunch at Japon Bistro.

About the Kawai Family
The Kawai Family's Pasadena story began in 1902 with the arrival of master carpenter Toichiro Kawai.  He had first arrived in the San Francisco area in 1898. Within a few years, Toichiro was working on the moving and reconstruction of the Japanese house from George Marsh's early Pasadena Japanese Garden to the estate of Henry Huntington, where he also built the moon bridge and temple bell tower.  Toichiro was able to purchase property near PCC and build a home before the Alien Land Laws took effect. The onset of World War II interrupted the lives of all the Kawai family, with most of them interned at Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona.  Toichiro's eight children and many grandchildren have pursued a variety of interests and careers throughout Pasadena and beyond.  Leslie Kawai became the first minority member to fill the role of Queen of the Tournament of Roses in 1981.  Kimi Kawai's daughter-in-law, Sharon Sugiyama, founded the charity A3M, Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, which matches Asian bone marrow donors with patients who need that life-giving service.

Please visit the Pasadena Museum of History site for more info:


letsugo . Last modified Jul 09 2010 12:13 p.m.


October 2009


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