Boys played baseball, football, and kendo (the martial art of fencing), and the whole community celebrated the New Year and other holidays like Girl’s Day, when the local children wore traditional kimonos and displayed intricately dressed dolls.
Though Japanese-Americans faced increasing discrimination in the outside world, the all-white teachers at the public elementary school celebrated both Japanese and American cultures.
“As the sun rises higher and higher,” the columnist Ainsworth wrote of one visit, “the smell of fish becomes almost a tangible cloud.” Fish Harbor was a company town, and everyone’s boss was the sea. Fishermen were even paid once monthly from “dark moon” to “dark moon.” Men, aided by their children, could often be found spreading their intricate fishing nets on the paved main thoroughfare of Terminal Way to dry.
In a process called “chumming,” live bait was dumped into the water, luring schools of tuna to the boat.
During this eating frenzy, the Japanese fishermen used the barbless hooks on the short bamboo poles to catch the tuna.
Since everything was so close, cars were unnecessary.
Sand was everywhere, even in the houses, so shoes were often optional.
The canneries soon built more than 300 houses for workers and their families behind the harbor.
A thriving community of around 2,000 to 3,000, souls was born.
There was definitely a Japanese encampment at Timm’s Point in San Pedro by 1912.
With the creation of Fish Harbor, canneries, particularly Van Camp, recruited and hired hundreds of Japanese workers, many of whom hailed from the seaside state of Wakayama in Japan.
Children attended elementary school at the local public school and attended Japanese school at the Baptist Church.