Friday, November 1, 2013

Public television program to feature Huntington Beach family's pioneer history

ABOVE: The Furuta family of Huntington Beach in 1922, (standing) Toshiko, Nobuko, Raymond, and Kazuko, (seated) Yukiko, baby Etsuko, and Charles. (Photo courtesy of the Furuta family) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    We borrow from our sister blog, Historic Wintersburg,
 to share an upcoming public television series that will feature another aspect of Huntington Beach history.

   Discussions began in January 2013 with the new public television series, Our American Family, about the history of the Furuta family of Historic Wintersburg, now part of north Huntington Beach.  The program producers were looking for a family whose story is iconic for Japanese Americans, from their earliest arrival in America in 1900 through their path to the present day.

    The mission of Our American Family is "to document our American family heritage, one family at a time, and inspire viewers to capture their own family stories - before those voices are gone."  The producers talked about their own families and the lessons we can learn from those who came before: "Every day that passes is another day closer to a day when we will no longer be able to hear first-hand what it meant to be a family during this simpler time, before the world changed.  To hear first-hand what lessons were learned that we can apply today..."

ABOVE: Charles Furuta (front row, second from left) stands on the steps of the Huntington Inn with Ed Manning, Huntington Beach's first mayor upon its incorporation in 1909 (second row, far right in light-color suit).  This photograph, circa May 1912, may memorialize a meeting to organize fundraising to rebuild the Huntington Beach pier. (Photo courtesy of Wintersburg Presbyterian Church). © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  In September 2013,  filming began to capture the story of Charles Mitsuji and Yukiko Yajima Furuta, and their descendants.  With the recorded 1982 oral history of Yukiko Furuta, the stories and memories of five generations of the Furuta family will be heard.  The oral history interviews will include historic photographs and present-day images filmed on the Furuta farm and other places in Historic Huntington Beach.

 Our American Family featuring the Furuta family will be aired in 2014 (date to be announced) on public television around the country.   For readers of Historic Huntington Beach and Historic Wintersburg, a special preview from the program's producers.

Note: This excerpt starts in 1912, the year Charles Furuta married Yukiko Yajima.  Charles had lived in the United States for 12 years---arriving in 1900---and, had saved enough money to buy land and build a home in Wintersburg Village, now part of Huntington Beach. He donated land on his farm for the Wintersburg Mission.

Editor's note: For more information about sponsorship of the Our American Family program, please contact

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