iF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE HISTORY JAPANESE CEMETERY PROJECT, PLEASE USE THE PAYPAL LINK ON THE HOME PAGE TO DO SO
Board member Ken Nakano has been working on some possible designs for the replacement grave markers. As you know, many of the current markers are made of wood. The names were painted on by some visiting Japanese students and of course over time, most of it has faded. Some of the wooden markers have been knocked over or disappeared or cracked. He has created a beautiful yet simple and elegant obelisk, 4 sided. One side will have the name of the decedent written in English and the opposite side will have the name written in Kanji. He is working closely with the property owner, Roberto Garcia, as well as the city of Oxnard planning division. We are planning to submit a proposal to the planning division that contains architectural renderings of the proposed markers along with Mr. Garcia’s proposal for a water meter. As counter intuitive as this might sound to some, the city suggested we submit just one application instead of two. We are saving some money by sharing fees with Mr. Garcia. The city has the ability to accept portions of any application and reject portions of it. Once the planning division approves the application, it will be reviewed by the cultural heritage board. Ken has already lined up a concrete company, granite company and granite engraver company to manufacture the grave markers. We are grateful to Ken for his 30+ years of service to our chapter as well as the restoration of the cemetery.
At our last cemetery cleanup on May 5, 2018, a large group of volunteers gathered at the historic Japanese cemetery for our annual cleanup. For the first time in the history of our chapter doing this cleanup, the owner of the property, Roberto Garcia, was present. At least 10 employees from Cabrillo Economic Development Corp (CEDC) came with rakes, shovels, etc. Roy Kodama saved the day by bringing trash bags for the volunteers. Elizabeth Hiroyasu, our beloved president, and a couple volunteers, washed the headstones. Many others dug up weeds and removed trash. Several descendants of folks buried at the cemetery also pitched in: Olen Golden, Asao and Amy Masumiya. This was the largest gathering of volunteers in recent years. Ken Nakano put a combination type lock on the gate. Please let us know if you'd like the combination so you can visit the cemetery. On May 25, Fence Factory put up a temporary chain link fence. Your board feels that the cemetery is much more secure and will discourage future vandalism.
Our next big project is to create a prototype of a grave marker to replace the 60 wooden grave markers. Ken Nakano will be working on a sample marker.
We are devastated regarding the recent vandalism on June 19th, 2017, the worst that we know of since the 1980’s. However, we are inspired and encouraged by folks like YOU who want to HELP!!! We are restarting our efforts for donations to secure the cemetery (put in new fencing on east side) and replace broken grave markers and repair broken head stones.
Click link below to contribute to our cemetery fund:
Thanks again for your concern and caring! It helps us to know that you are partnering with us on this road to restoring the dignity of the cemetery.
In 1885, the Hueneme Masonic Lodge established a cemetery in the area of Pleasant Valley Road and Etting Road in Oxnard. The cemetery was used for about 20 years until Ivy Lawn in city of Ventura opened for business. In 1908, the Masonic Lodge decided to create a segregated cemetery on the triangular piece of property down the road from their cemetery. They had a Japanese and a Chinese person buried at the cemetery. Ivy Lawn Cemetery was whites only at that time. At least 129 Japanese, many of the single male farmworkers are buried here. Many infants and toddlers are buried here also. There is a total of around 200 people buried here, with a few who have been removed by families. There is no caretaker on the property and it has been unsecured for many years. Our chapter hopes to change this in light of the recent vandalism and desecration of the historic cemetery. Though most of our members do not have family members buried here, we are passionate about the restoration in spite of this setback. It is part of our tradition to honor the dead. We want to make the situation “right” again in order to honor the Japanese pioneers of Ventura County.