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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Aug. 29, 1945. p. 1
STATE GIVEN JAP LAND IN SALINAS AREA
Approximately 72 acres of farm land Wednesday is under state ownership following an alien land law decision against Yeizo Ikeda, a Japanese alien at Salinas.
Superior Judge H.G. Jorgensen awarded the land to the state Tuesday.
The suit was brought by District Attorney Anthony Brazil who alleged the Ikeda family bought the land in 1928 under the name of a friend, Toski Hanazon. The tract was to revert to Ikeda's daughter, Atsuko, when she came of age.
The court held the statute of limitations was inapplicable to the case because it was "just as much against public policy" to leave the land in alien possession for more than 10 years as it was for one year.
Ikeda declared on the stand at the trial in superior court March 6 and 7, that he bought the land in 1928, when his daughter was eight years old and placed it in the name of a friend, Toski Hanazone, until she came of age. The state claimed this was a subterfuge and that the land was not transferred to the daughter's name until the suit was filed in June of 1944.
In 1927, the state contended, the Ikeda family went back to Japan for a visit. The father, mother and two sons remained one year, the daughter, Atsuko, three years, and two sons remained permanently.
"It would be a rare case where the state could prove the facts of a case like this by direct evidence," Judge Jorgensen wrote in his opinion. "The court can not conceive of a much stronger case built on circumstantial evidence than this.
"Not only did this alien, Y. Ikeda, and his wife pay the consideration on each purchase, but they took possession, farmed the property as their own, accounted to nobody, spent the profits as they desired for their own and all family purposes, referred to the property as their own and although they had other children (two boys in Japan), yet they selected their oldest girl to hold the legal title after they decided to have such title transferred by Toshi Hanazone.
"It is neither common sense nor natural for parents to give practically all their property to one child and discriminate against all the others and keep none for themselves and then work for years to improve the property with no compensation expected except a bare living.
"The testimony of the young daughter was frank but all her evidence taken together with her manner of testifying convinces the court that she understands perfectly well that she is the holder of the mere naked legal title for the benefit of her father and mother, and not otherwise.
"The Ikedas didn't even bother about having themselves appointed as guardian of their daughter, setting up the property as hers and accounting to the court, as so many Japanese people have done in this country.
"There isn't the slightest doubt in the court's mind but that the facts alleged in plaintiff's complaint on file herein are true."
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.