Morikami Mu­seum

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - ART -

Long be­fore its lantern fes­ti­vals, tea cer­e­monies and art ex­hibits, the lush Morikami Mu­seum and Ja­panese Gar­dens be­gan as a squat, open-air Ja­panese villa named “Yam­ato-kan.” The villa, which opened in 1977, car­ries a per­ma­nent ex­hibit on the history of the Yam­ato Colony, a group of hard­scrab­ble Ja­panese im­mi­grants who farmed pineap­ples on land (now Del­ray Beach) owned by Henry Fla­gler’s Florida East Coast Rail­way. Af­ter Jo Sakai grad­u­ated from New York Univer­sity in 1904, he bought 1,000 acres of land from Fla­gler, hir­ing farm­ers from his na­tive Miyazu, Ja­pan, to ship pineap­ples along Fla­gler’s rail­way. Blight even­tu­ally wiped out the farms, and most of the set­tlers re­turned to Ja­pan, save for Ge­orge Morikami, who do­nated his farm­land to be pre­served as a Palm Beach County park. Sun­day will mark the 40th an­niver­sary of the villa’s open­ing (the mu­seum opened in 1993), and to cel­e­brate, the Morikami will host a day­long bash with sushi, guided history tours and a 3 p.m. mu­sic per­for­mance in the the­ater. Visi­tors can also share me­men­tos for a Morikami time cap­sule, and view the “Ja­pan Through the Eyes of a Child” dis­play in the Yam­ato-kan build­ing. When: 10 a.m. Sun­day Where: Morikami Mu­seum and Ja­panese Gar­dens, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Del­ray Beach Cost: $9-$15 Con­tact: 561-495-0233 or Morikami.org

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