The Yamato Colony: A Japanese Settlement in Florida

Speaker Series – Talk by Tom Gregersen
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Mr. Gregersen will share anecdotes about the pioneering Yamato Colony of Japanese settlers that existed in Palm Beach County early in the twentieth century.

Topics he will cover include: the founding of the colony by Jo Sakai, the lives of George Morikami as well as other settlers, the meaning of the name “Yamato,” the colony’s location, and the settlers’ experiences during World War II.


Tom Gregersen earned an M. A. degree in Japanese studies from the University of Michigan in 1977. He joined the staff of the Morikami Museum in 1978 as assistant curator, rising to senior curator and cultural director over a thirty-five-year career with the museum. Tom is the recipient of both the Foreign Minister’s Commendation (2013) and the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays (2019), awarded by the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami. With Reiko Nishioka, he translated to English a Japanese-language history of the colony by Ryusuke Kawai. The English version, Yamato Colony: The Pioneers Who Brought Japan to Florida, was published recently by the University Press of Florida.

Yamato Colony Book

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