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Sowing Dreams, Cultivating Lives:
Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II Orange County

Sowing Dreams

February 9, 2007


through Dec. 2, 2007
Open Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.
Or by appointment


Fullerton Arboretum
California State University, Fullerton
1900 Associated Road
Fullerton, California 92831


“Sowing Dreams, Cultivating Lives: Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II Orange County” is the inaugural exhibit of the Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum, which highlights Orange County’s agrarian roots and the contributions made by pioneering farmers, including those in the Japanese American community. The free exhibit will showcase the experiences of the Japanese American farmers who settled and lived in Orange County in the years leading up to their relocation and internment in the spring of 1942.

Based on oral histories and photographs from the university’s Center for Oral and Public History, “Sowing Dreams, Cultivating Lives:  Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II Orange County” covers immigration, family life, social organizations and farming. In addition, the museum also will feature an original mixed-media piece by New York-based artist Mike Saijo, based on local photographs and writings in Echo magazine — published by Orange County’s Japanese American community prior to World War II. The work is 7 feet by 10 feet and reflects the sense of community spirit of the Japanese American farmers.

“This exhibit owes much to the cooperation of several departments from across the campus,” says Carlota F. Haider, exhibit designer.  “From visual arts to anthropology, from history to biology, professors, staff and students have contributed time, effort and skills to design, develop and create the exhibition concepts and structures. Moreover, the volunteers who devoted countless hours building creative displays, and the generosity of people in the community who provided advice, artifacts and personal items, all contributed to the realization of this project.”

Photos:  Exhibit photos are available online at
Media Contacts:

Joanne Lewis, Fullerton Arboretum, 657-278-3407 or
Gregory Dyment, Fullerton Arboretum, 657-278-3250 or


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