Landscaping America: Beyond the Japanese Garden - Timeline


This collection presents the timeline from the Landscaping America: Beyond the Japanese Garden exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum from June 17 through October 21, 2007. In addition to the timeline dates, it also includes some selected stories from the exhibition.


Through the seasons, gardens grow and change. Those who create or care for them participate in a cycle of work that requires time, patience, and flexibility.

Gardens also transform as a consequence of social and cultural shifts. And over the past century, national and international events have affected Japanese American involvement in gardens and gardening.

Throughout this time, Japanese Americans have contributed to and benefited from the popularization of Japanese-style gardens. They worked on the ones at virtually all of America’s international expositions, and they built some of the earliest public and private Japanese-style gardens in this country.

Their participation in maintenance gardening as a vocation—which was strongly associated with them by the 1920s—leveraged the stereotype associating Japanese heritage with artistic and horticultural skills. More important, gardening provided a means for social and economic survival during a period when racial discrimination prevented Japanese immigrants from purchasing land and entering other professions.

This timeline reflects the legacy of Japanese Americans who have designed, built, and maintained gardens. The selected stories reveal how they diversified America’s cultural and physical landscapes and supported their communities through many changing seasons.


To learn more about Landscaping America, please visit the exhibition Web site.

Copyright is held by the Japanese American National Museum. Short-term educational use with limited circulation is permitted. For all other uses, please contact the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (

Slides in this album 


U.S. and Japan sign treaty forcing opening of Japanese ports to American ships and starting limited trade.

First Japanese garden in U.S. presented by Japanese government at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition at Fairmount Park.

Chinese Exclusion Act bars immigration of Chinese laborers, setting stage for subsequent legislation curtailing immigration and …

Nippon Nursery, Pasadena
Contributed by: eishida


California’s new Alien Land Law prohibits Japanese immigrants from owning or leasing land. Many leave agricultural work and take up gardening in urban areas.

Japanese Exclusion League of California organized in San Francisco.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Ozawa v. U.S. definitively bars Japanese immigrants from naturalization on basis of …

Miami Beach Nursery
Contributed by: eishida


Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago displays Japanese Garden and Pavilion, designed by Issei Taro Otsuka, a garden builder based in the Midwest.

One-third of Los Angeles’s Japanese American labor force work as gardeners.

American writer Loraine Kuck’s book One Hundred Kyoto Gardens is published and coins the term …

Japanese Tea Garden
Contributed by: eishida

Shogo Myaida, 1930

Shogo Myaida was an Issei, and a garden designer both before and after World War II. One of his best public works is the Japanese-style garden at the Hillwood Estates, Museum and Gardens in Washington, D.C. To read more about his life, please view the original item.

Shogo Myaida
Contributed by: eishida



Japan attacks U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawai`i, prompting U.S. entry into World War II.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing forced removal and incarceration of West Coast Japanese Americans in concentration camps.
After only one month in the camps, Japanese American inmates under take individual and community …

Japanese American Students Withdraw
Contributed by: eishida



U.S. officially enters Korean War.

McCarran-Walter Act makes all races eligible for naturalization and establishes a national-origins quota system for all immigrants. Many Japanese immigrants are finally able to apply for U.S. citizenship.
In Fujii v. State of California, California Supreme Court rules Alien Land Law unconstitutional.


Refugee Relief Act passes, extending …

Gardening in Redondo Beach
Contributed by: eishida

Hoshiko Yamaguchi's Favorite Pine Tree

This black pine tree is Hoshiko Yamaguchi's favorite, a pine tree she plantd back in 1956.

In 1946, Nisei Hoshiko and her husband Eisaku Yamaguchi left the Tule Lake Segregation Center in California with their four children. The family spent the next decade working as farm laborers before purchasing property …

Pine Tree
Contributed by: eishida


Early 1960s

Chevrolet develops a pick-up truck model specifically for gardeners with a built-in ramp and tool case. It never catches on—as most gardeners prefer to customize their storage rigs themselves.

Northwest Federated Japanese Gardeners Conference created by Seattle Japanese Gardeners Association and Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Association.

“The Encounter,” an episode of …

Morimoto's in Santa Ana
Contributed by: eishida



Film Chinatown (dir. Roman Polanski) features Nisei actor Jerry Fujikawa as a Japanese gardener who plays a pivotal plot role.

Pacific Coast Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association established so that Japanese-speaking contractors can network and learn about current issues in the industry.

Paul and Vicky Murakami
Contributed by: eishida



Cherry-tree cuttings from Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin are given to Japanese horticulturalists to replace trees destroyed by flood in Japan.

The Karate Kid (dir. John G. Avildsen) features Nisei actor Pat Morita in role of gardener and martial arts instructor.

President Ronald Reagan signs into law H.R. 442, which provides governmental apology …

Women' s Auxilliary - Los Angeles Southwest Gardeners' Association
Contributed by: eishida



The National Bonsai Foundation dedicates the John Y. Naka North American Pavilion at the U.S. National Arboretum. Named for a former landscape gardener and master bonsai artist from Los Angeles, the pavilion reflects the growing popularity of bonsai in the U.S.

John Y. Naka awarded National Heritage Fellowship from National Endowment …

Use a Blower, Go to Jail
Contributed by: eishida

Album Type

community history

eishida — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation