SITE OF KISHI COLONY GIVEN TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER 
|Ida Hirasaki Bush and Taro Kishi
dedicating the Texas Historical Marker
Dedication of the official Texas Historical Marker for the site of the Kishi Colony on FM 1135, seven miles southeast of Vidor Texas drew a crowd of 150 persons including descendants of the original Japanese colony.
The dedication was made Sunday, Oct. 3, 1982. Special guests were Gwendolyn Wingate, the writer of the Kishi history; Alex McKenzie, former agriculture agent for Orange County; Thomas Tick Granger, representing the Orange County Commissioners Court.
Also Frances Reid, Frank and Ruby Coffin, Enola and Bubba Voss, Hubert and Dorothy Meadows, all of Orange; and Claire and Charles Benckenstein of Jefferson County, all representing the Historical Commission.
Edward Saibara represented the Saibara family of Webster, Texas and the Nagai family was represented by Fusa Nagai of Vidor and Mr. And Mrs. J. M. Crumley of Lampsas and John, Parrish and Kitt Hirasaki of Dickinson also attended.
The Kishi Colony descendants had a family reunion at the home of Henry and Becky Hirasaki following the dedication and a visit to the Kishi Cemetery. Among those attending were Ai Kishi and Richard I. Saito, Yoichi and Dorothy Kishi, all of Canyon Lake, Texas. Susan, Kay and George Kishi were there from Houston; Aileen Kishi from Austin and Ida Hirasaki Bush from Dallas.
the Kondo family were Shunji of Fannett and Minnie and Shohoe of Beaumont.
Of special interest was a graduate student, Kazuhiko Orii from the
University of Pennsylvania who is writing a Ph. D. dissertation on the
Japanese immigrants who settled in Texas and raised rice. He is
a native of Japan and was a weekend guest of Mr. And Mrs. Henry Hirasaki.
OFFICIAL TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER
THE SITE OF THE KISHI COLONY
JAPANESE NATIVE KICHIMATSU KISHI (d. 1956), A VETERAN OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR, 1904-1905, ESTABLISHED AN AGRICULTURAL COLONY AT THIS SITE IN 1908. THE FIRST SETTLERS WERE JAPANESE TENANT FARMERS. DESPITE THEIR EVENTUAL AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AND ADOPTION OF SEVERAL WESTERN CUSTOMS, THEY MANAGED TO MAINTAIN THE TRADITIONS OF THEIR HOMELAND. SEVERAL CROPS WERE RAISED HERE, BUT THE FERTILE SOIL AND ABUNDANT WATER WERE BEST SUITED FOR RICE PRODUCTION.
LATER, WORKERS OF MEXICAN AND FRENCH LOUISINA DESCENT JOINED THE SETTLEMENT. IN ORDER TO SERVE THE GROWING COLONY, KISHI DEEDED LAND FOR A CHURCH AND A SCHOOL. A NEARBY CEMETERY WAS STARTED IN 1910 FOR THE BURIAL OF A YOUNG COLONIST, T. TOBA.
UNSTABLE MARKET PRICES, DAMAGED CROPS, AND FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS LED TO THE DECLINE OF THE COLONY. THE END CAME AS A RESULT OF THE ECONOMIC DEPRESSION OF THE 1930’S.
SOME SETTLERS MOVED TO OTHER STATES, BUT MANY REMAINED. SEVERAL OF THE MEN SERVED WITH THE AMERICAN FORCES DURING WORLD WAR II.
THE KISHI COLONY WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE ECONOMIC
GROWTH OF ORANGE COUNTY. ONLY THE CEMETERY AND A FEW STRUCTURES
MARK THE SITE, BUT DESCENDENTS OF THE ORIGINAL SETTLERS STILL LIVE IN
2 p.m. Oct. 3, 1982
Master of Ceremonies: Frances Reid, Chairman- Orange County Historical Commission
Invocation: Mr. Herbert Cummings, First United Methodist Church of Vidor
Introduction of Guests: Frances Reid and Taro Kishi
Dedication Address: Rev. V. O. Blankinship, First United Methodist Church of Vidor
Unveiling of Marker: Taro Kishi, Son of Kichimatsu Kishi
Benediction: \Mr. Herbert Cummings
Orange County Historical
1. Las Sabinas, The
Official Quarterly Publication of the Orange County Historical Society,
Vol. VIX, 1983, Book 1.