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A Taste for Strawberries: The Independent Journey of Nisei Farmer Manabi Hirasaki (book)

Creators: Naomi Hirahara, Manabi Hirasaki

Book cover. Courtesy of the Japanese American National Museum
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

The memoir of Manabi Hirasaki , a successful Nisei farmer, with reflections on experiences ranging from his childhood working on his father's farms, his family's " voluntary evacuation " to Grand Junction, Colorado, voluntary service in the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team , and his successes in the strawberry industry after World War II.


In the introduction, Naomi Hirahara explains the process by which she worked with Hirasaki to write the memoir. The memoir begins with the account of Hirasaki's father Kiyoshi 's immigration to the U.S. from Kumamoto prefecture in Japan, and his approach to farming and entrepreneurship. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hirasaki's father was detained by the FBI and taken first to Sharp Park , then to Bismarck, North Dakota . With the help of a white family friend, Manabi and his family voluntarily evacuated to Grand Junction, Colorado, where they purchased a farm and called over some other Japanese American farmers.

Manabi decided to volunteer for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and was assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. The memoir traces his participation in battles in Italy, France, and Germany. Meanwhile, his family returned to Gilroy, California. After he was discharged from the army in January 1946, he also returned there and with his family, established Hirasaki Farms. He decided to break off from the family in 1950, and soon got involved in growing strawberries. The rest of the memoir describes in detail the important role he played in the development of the strawberry business and the growth of Driscoll Farms.

Author Background

Manabi Hirasaki (1923-2012) was a farmer and philanthropist who not only helped to shape the California strawberry industry, but also invested heavily in Japanese American community organizations.

Naomi Hirahara worked as a journalist and nonfiction writer before becoming the author of the Mas Arai detective series.

Authored by Emily Anderson

Might also like Iwao Takemoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters by Iwao Takemoto; Out of the Frying Pan: Reflections of a Japanese American by Bill Hosokawa; Fox Drum Bebop by Gene Oishi

Media Details
Author Naomi Hirahara, Manabi Hirasaki
Pages 217
Publication Date 2003
For More Information

For More Information

" Manabi Hirasaki, Farmer and Philanthropist, Dies at 89 ," Rafu Shimpo , August 18, 2012.

" Interview with Manabi Hirasaki ," by California Nisei College Diploma Project, September 3, 2010.