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 The Nishimuta Family




Almeria, Spain

Through these pages
 we would like to share
 a voyage of faith and hope,
...and the resulting blessings


 Izumi City, Japan

A Spanish Senorita


A Samurai Son


In 1868, The Meiji Restoration in Japan begins as the Emperor Meiji oversees an era of rapid modernization, creates a conscript army, and abolishes the samurai-class ranking which has defined order in Japan since the 1600's. Education is reformed, a constitution is created; a parliament established. Victory in wars with Russia and China will begin the dominant period of Japanese nationalism and influence leading to World War II.

In the 14th year of the Meiji Restoration, Kutero (Or Kyutaro) Tateno was born in Izumi City, Kagoshima, Japan, on February 24, 1881, to Kuzaemon Tateno and Yae Idenoue. His umbilical cord is wrapped in rice paper, inscribed with his name and time of birth, 6 pm. He was the firth of six children, with brothers Kijiroo, 14 years older and Kitinosuke, 7 years older, and two sisters, Turugami, 10 years older, and Sue, 4 years older. Five years later, a son Kutsusaki would join them. There was another figure, possibly his mother's child by another man, whom he always considered his brother and mentor. This was Kiemon Madarame, 19 years older than Kyutaro.

The year Kutaro was born, his grandfather, Kyugorou died at the age of 77. These Tatenos were sixth generation descendents of Manzaemon Tateno, a Samurai who lived in the 1600's and is listed in the 1620 "Izumi Kyodoshi" or History of Izumi. They lived in Kyushu, the Southern island of Japan, where winters are mild and palm trees grow. Kyushu is closer to Shanghai than Tokyo, facing the East China Sea.  Those who live near the balmy Sea are fishermen, many others till the ancient volcanic land where vegetables can grow in the winter, and rice fields abound. Izumi City is a small town just a few miles from the sea, and about 30 miles from Kagoshima, the Prefecture Capitol. Sixty miles to the north across the bay, lies Nagasaki, a city which will be remembered in history.

Kutaro was well educated, beginning primary school at age 9 and eventually attending the Meiji Gikae school in Kagoshima and high school in Tokyo.  When Kutaro is thirteen, 150,000 Japanese invade the Manchu Empire in Korea as Japan seeks to wrestle control of Korea from China. At age 19, Kutaro receives his first draft notice. The next year, he receives a conscription notice while in High School in Tokyo, but is deferred. In 1903, Kutaro graduates from high school at age 22, while Russian and Japanese tensions are rising. On February 8, 1904, The Japanese Navy launches a surprise attack on Port Arthur, beginning a two year war which ends in Russian defeat. We find a document in Japanese, dated February 28, 1905, signed by "Kutaro Nishimuta, of Samurai descent, Izumi, Kagoshima, to the conscription officer of Kagoshima," which results in a deferral to continue college.

 On May 7, 1904, Kutaro changes his surname from "Tateno" to "Nishimuta." While it was common for only the oldest son to keep the family name, we are unsure why he chose this name, although it appears to be a name which was near extinction. We also do not know why he chose to leave Japan, but in his hand-written diary, we will find exciting details of his new life across the ocean.



Note: There is a private Family Genealogical Website at http://history.nishimuta.net/genealogy.

Family members may request access at the site.


They were born more than 10,000 miles apart in the late 1800s. Two oceans and the continent of North America separated them, Kutaro Nishimuta, a Japanese gentleman, and Louisa Lorenzo, a beautiful Spanish woman. Discover how the Far East meets the European West in this incredible true story of two poor immigrants. Follow the travels and drama that brought these two opposites together in the heartland of America. Learn about the negative consequences of their interracial love. Louisa held a faith in God that would help them survive, but their spiritual strength and courage would be severely tested by prejudice, poverty, and the world at war. This is the true story of an Issei immigrant and his multicultural Nisei family. They lived and farmed in rural Oklahoma and survived the Great Depression. It is important to understand the enormous impact of Pearl Harbor and World War II on the life of this Japanese American family. This is an oral history; the words of their multicultural children paint a picture of love, faith, and inspiring optimism. The author investigates and explores this multicultural family through social, political, economic, and cultural analysis, giving us a better understanding of their unique lives.

Title: The Nishimutas: An Oral History of a Japanese and Spanish Family
ISBN: 0595819370
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Author: A Nishimuta, Juli Ann

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Website Editor: Mike Nishimuta
Email mike@nishimuta.net