"Tak" Moriuchi grew up in a Japanese farming
community called Yamato near Livingston, California. He attended
of California at Berkeley and graduated with a degree in business
management in 1941. When World War II began, he and his parents
were incarcerated first in Merced Assembly Center and then
in Amache, Colorado.
(Note - "Imprisoned
Without Trial" presents the article and photographs
which Sumi Kobayashi prepared for the October, 2008 celebration of
were encouraged to leave camp and seek jobs on the outside, Tak
first looked around
for opportunities in Colorado, then the midwest and eventually
on the east coast, going as far as North Carolina. He knew
he wanted to continue in farming.
the welcoming attitude of the Quakers in the Philadelphia area
and decided to settle in nearby New Jersey. He worked for two
years for a Quaker farmer, Lewis W. Barton. With an $8,000
loan from a local bank, he bought a small farm of about 100
acres. Tak first grew vegetables, including tomatoes for a
Campbell Soup cannery, and strawberries for local supermarkets;
eventually he bought more land to grow peaches and apples.
About 1960 Tak became a partner in a tractor dealership, Cherry
Valley Tractor Co. in Marlton. Later he helped found Moorestown
National Bank, bought real estate and became a wealthy man.
He owes his business success to being willing to take risks,
but also to careful management.
Tak has been
honored for his many contributions to agriculture in New Jersey.
During the George H.W. Bush administration he was appointed
Director of the Farmers Home Administration for the State of
New Jersey in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In that position
he was able to improve working conditions for low income agricultural
workers in the state. He was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation
in 1992 when his appointment was terminated at the end of the
Bush administration. At the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary
October 19, 2006, State Senator Diane Allen brought a message
from the State of New Jersey honoring Tak Moriuchi for his
contribution to agriculture in South Jersey. A crate of Tak’s
logo is in the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, attesting
to the importance the state attaches to his part in the development
of agriculture in the state.
at the 60th anniversary celebration were Mary Hodges, a
longtime employee of his farming ventures, and Lafayette
boyhood friend from Livingston, California, currently a resident
of New Hampshire, This
Thanksgiving story from the November, 2008 issue of Medford
Leas Life tells of their
time he turned over his farms to his children, he became deeply
involved in building a Quaker sponsored retirement community
in Medford, New Jersey. Lewis Barton, old friend Tom DeCou,
and Tak were the principals involved in building Medford Leas.
Tak contributed his financial expertise and connections with
banks. He went as far as the west coast to investigate successful
retirement communities. Currently Medford Leas is home to
almost 800 residents on two campuses supported by a staff of
350. Tak and his wife Yuri live there along with 18 other Japanese
about Japanest Americans at Medford Leas from the October,
2008 issue of Medford leas Life.
to Imprisoned Without Trial
either photo to see large version.
with his parents Tsukumo & Heijiro Moriuchi in Livingston,
Right: Tak's Portrait which hangs in the Medford Leas Gallery.
.............Click either photo to see large version
Left: Original Fellowship
Rd. Farm..... Right: Hartford Road Farm
Above: Moriuchi Box Label, like the one in the NJ State Museum. Right:
Plaque recognizing Tak's service in the NJ Farmers Home Administration.
either photo to see large version
Left: 2006 photo with his lifelong friend, Lafayette Yoda ..
Right: 1990 photo with the NJ
Secretary of Agriculture.
"Yuri" Uyehara was born in 1918 in Oakland,
California, but grew up in Los Angeles; they moved in the
Boyle Heights. Her father had a shoe repair shop. When her
brother Hiroshi left to attend UCLA, Yuri learned to drive
and drove her father to visit his customers on Terminal Island,
where many Japanese fishing families lived. The men on Terminal
Island were highly suspect and were among the first to be
picked up by government authorities because their livelihood
required them to have intimate knowledge of the waters of
the harbor area.
Los Angeles City College where she took accounting courses
and first became interested in Ikebana, the Japanese art of
flower arranging. Shortly before war with Japan began, Yuri
was interviewed by the FBI. She thought they were testing her
loyalty. She told them, “I was born in the United States….I
have never been to Japan. This is my home.” When war
came, the Uyehara family was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center
(formerly a race track) at Arcadia, California, where they
were assigned to a white-washed horse stall. It still smelled
of horses. "Old
Mr. Konda" a famous photo by Dorothea Lange, which shows
a stable converted into living quarters at Tanforan Assembly
1942 the Uyehara family boarded a train to be taken to the
Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. Yuri’s younger
brother Isamu (Sam) was attending the University of California
at Berkeley and was evacuated with an uncle to Topaz, Utah.
Coming from the Los Angeles area, the Uyeharas found the high
humidity and cold in the Mississippi bottomlands hard to take.
Some of the men went into the swamp to collect cypress knees,
which internees fashioned into decorative items like vases.
When her brother Hiroshi left for Philadelphia, Yuri joined
him there. By that time he had found employment with Westinghouse
Corporation as an electrical engineer. Yuri found work as a
bookkeeper with the Social Service Exchange, a clearinghouse
for several non-profit institutions. A pioneer group of Nisei
gathered for social events at the International Institute on
15th Street in Philadelphia. At one of the events Yuri met
Takashi Moriuchi. At first she was not very impressed. He was
a farmer and that was the last type of person she would like
to be serious with. She was a city girl with no family background
in farming. As she grew to know him better, she liked his honesty
and mischievous streak and his drive. They were married October
few years were focused on rearing four children, a boy and
three girls. In the beginning money was tight and Yuri was
busy with wifely and motherly duties. As Tak’s fortunes
increased and the children grew, Yuri rekindled her early interest
in the art of ikebana. She pursued her interest in the Ikenobo
school, a branch that follows strict traditional rules, as
opposed to other schools such as Sogetsu, which permits the
practitioner freer expression. She participated in the Philadelphia
Flower Show for many years, has served as a judge at various
exhibitions, and is a past president of the Moorestown Garden
Club. She has gone to Japan at intervals to maintain her credentials
as a teacher. Today she still gives private lessons in her
home and is periodically featured in local news media as a
master of the art of ikebana.
Yuri joined the Society of Friends soon after their marriage
and became dedicated supporters of Moorestown Friends Meeting
and Moorestown Friends School. Tak and Yuri have been generous
contributors to Japanese American and Asian American organizations.
They have set up a family foundation through which they provide
financial assistance to young people to further their education.
Yuri have four children: Fred Tamotsu, Agnes Miyo, Carol Kiyo
and Nancy Chiyo; eleven grandchildren and one great grandson.
Their children have published a book, “The Fruitful Life,
Takashi & Yuriko Moriuchi,” honoring their parents
on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary on October
19, 2006; published under the Legacy Memoirs imprint—a
trademark of Breakthrough Seminars, Inc.—by EZway Books,
LLC at 1736 E. Charleston, Las Vegas, NV 89104. Copyright Takashi
and Yuriko Moriuchi, 2006. The Moriuchi book has been used
as a resource by the author.