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Toshio Mori was born on March 3, 1910, in Oakland, California, to parents who were Japanese immigrants from Otake, Japan. They emigrated shortly before Mori was born, making him their first child born in the United States, and thus the family’s first American citizen. At the time of his birth, Mori’s parents ran a bathhouse in Oakland―“a flourishing business because most people seldom had bathroom facilities,” Mori recalled. When Mori was three, his parents opened a florist shop and nursery with relatives, where they raised carnations and roses and other flowers in their greenhouses. A few years later, the family relocated their home and flower business to San Leandro, a city ten miles southeast of Oakland.

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This document was originally published in Nanzan Review of American Studies by Nanzan Review of American Studies. Copyright restrictions may apply.