View All Posts
Posted on May 20, 2021 at 4:27 PM by Melissa Dalton
In 1994, the Women’s History Project of Greene County, Inc. published a book documenting the biographies of women, and histories of women’s organizations in Greene County, titled Women of Greene County: Biographies of Women, 1750-1994; Histories of Women’s Organizations, 1861-1994. As part of our continued celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month, we would like to highlight the story of a women we learned about through this book – Tsuchino Koishihara Kakehashi (Fig 1).
Fig 1. Tsuchino Koishihara Kakehashi (Greene County Archives)
Tsuchino Kakehashi was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1887. Although we do not know much about her early life, we do know that she worked as a midwife. Tsuchino married Matsutaro Kakehashi, a ship’s chef, and the young couple immigrated to the United States in 1918, settling in Seattle, Washington (Fig 2).
Fig 2. U. S. Census with Tsuchino and son outlined in red (Ancestry.com)
The couple had three children – George Herot, John Shiugi, and Samuel Takio – all born in the United States (Fig 3). Tsuchino knew little English when they immigrated, but when her husband opened a dry-cleaning business, Tsuchino worked with him, and it provided an opportunity for her to learn and practice her English with the customers (Fig 4).
Fig 3. 1930 U.S. Census with Kakehashi family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)
Fig 4. Kakehashi Family, date unknown (courtesy KathyF via FindAGrave)
Matsutaro died in 1939, leaving Tsuchino to raise their teenage children. When World War II began, the two older sons, George and John, volunteered to serve in the Army. George was fluent in Japanese and served with the Special Services. John was part of the renowned 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed almost entirely of second-generation Japanese American soldiers, and one of the most decorated units during the War. Even with her two oldest fighting on the side of the United States, Tsuchino and her youngest son, Samuel, were among the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during WWII, being taken to a site in Minidoka, Idaho.
Tsuchino and her son eventually were allowed to leave the camp if they could find a sponsor. Frederick Lemcke of Yellow Springs, was one such sponsor (Lemcke was the Greene County Engineer from 1949-1965). Tsuchino learned that the Lemke family had done missionary work in Japan, and were looking for someone to help care for their children. Arrangements were made for Tsuchino and Samuel to move to Yellow Springs under the sponsorship of Lemke.
The Kakehashi family thrived in Yellow Springs. George and John joined the family in Yellow Springs after their service, with both obtaining some college education, marrying, and having families of their own. In addition to her work in childcare, Tsuchino became active in the local Episcopal Church and enjoyed arranging flowers. Samuel attended high school and was president of his senior class, went on to join the Navy, and eventually became a dentist. Tsuchino Kakehashi died on January 30, 1971 at the age of 83. She was buried in Glen Forest Cemetery (Fig 5).
Fig 5. Obituary for Tsuchino Koishihara Kakehashi, Xenia Daily Gazette, 2 Feb 1971 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
Tsuchino had to overcame great adversity and hardship to create a fulfilling life for herself and her children. Her story demonstrates the sheer power of perseverance and love of a mother.
Until Next Time.
Trolander, I. D. (Ed.). (1994). Women of Greene County: Biographies of women 1750-1994, histories of women’s organizations 1861-1994. Women’s History Project of Greene County, Inc.
before leaving your comment