The Fairview Cemetery in League City
The Resting Place of Mr. Seito Saibara
by Daniel Watanabe
photography by Howard Lindsay

    Upon traveling south from downtown Houston on I-45 and exiting on League City Road, you may make a left turn off onto an inconspicuous street and pass by old but neat houses that seem to belong to another era.  At the end of this road, you will suddenly come to 50 acres of open area with a gate sign saying Fairview Cemetery.  Unknown to almost all Houstonians, this is the final resting ground of Mr. Seito Saibara and his immediate family.  In one section of this quiet and peaceful land, one realizes that a true Japanese pioneer who immigrated to Houston, Texas over 100 years ago, is remembered only by a grave marker noted with the simple inscription, SAIBARA.

    Next to Mr. Saibara are six grave markers that include his parents, wife, and sons.  A few steps away, one will find 36 other Japanese markers, three of them noting people who were born 123 years ago, and who reached the shores of the U.S. a century ago.

    Who were these people?  What made them travel to this distant land called Texas? Whom did they leave behind and how did they bear the hardships of being foreigners?  

    History whispers in this remarkable section of graves seldom visited by anyone anymore.  

    Let me list the names of these “pioneer” Japanese who should be recognized as Japanese Texans now: [In alphabetical order]

Kumahachi Ando
Kanuemon Ando
Nami Ando
Chojuro J. Asami
Teruko Ann Asami
George Kiyoshi Hashimoto
Iichi Iino
Masako Iio
Roy Jiro Iio
William Kenchi Iio
Yori Iio

Sam Ishizaka,
Sakio Iuchi
Genji Iwata
Frank Kato
Baby Kodama
Masaichi Kuwamura
Yoshiko Mano
Naochika Masuda
Frank I. Matsumoto
Marie Azuko Matsumoto
Denzaburo Miyashita
Osa Azawa Nagai
Iwaske Nagai
I. Nakanodo
Heihachi Nishiyama
Yoshiko Numano
Nobu Onishi
Iwajiro Onishi
Jitsuji Onishi
Tokie Otani
Kuniemon Sandow
Tsuruyo Sandow
Kikumatsu Shemoto
Senji Suzuki
Isoe Sawamura
Suetomo Tazawa
Asako Watanabe
Seito Saibara's
immediate family
Seito Saibara
Harvey Saibara
Hide Saibara
Masuya Saibara
Shimoyo Saibara
Tai Saibara
Webster Saibara
(in Forest Park East)
Kiyoaki Saibara
Robert Saibara

Members of “The 100 Years of Japanese Texans”group shall gather at this site on March 28 to conduct a Pioneer Family Memorial Service.”*

*If you wish to be notified of this special event, please contact Daniel Watanabe at or FAX at (281) 498-1949.