Makiyama Genzaburo

A Runaway

Makiyama Genzaburo (牧山源三郎) (1879*-21 Dec 1938)

Genzaburo (1879-21 Dec 1938) and Kiya (4 Dec 1883-29 Nov 1937) were the eldest of 10 Makiyama siblings.  True to her words, the Nanny and her husband kept Genzaburo as the heir to their little farm.  Genzaburo was very unhappy about the situation because he thought that the natural born sibling should inherit.  Who knows what goes through people’s minds.


Genzaburo (circa 1899, age 20); married a Natsu Makiyama (of the original Makiyamas that arrived on Madarashima in the early 1800s from Hirado Island) and immigrated to Hawaii in 1899**.  Hawaii State Index of Immigration, Makiyama Genzaburo arrived on 5 Dec 1899 from Saga prefecture on the Carmarthenshire with his friend, Furusato Tanegoro.

This much we know.  Genzaburo was a fisherman.  By the time Ojiichan and his Mother, Natsu came to Hawaii he was a wealthy man with 5 fishing boats and many workers.  

Myth?  Someone hired an assassin who tried to kill Genzaburo.  According to the old stories he was badly injured and was at death bed for a very long time.  Someone (assumption the doctor who knew him or the Japanese Consulate) wrote to Natsu telling her that by the time she received the letter Genzaburo would be dead.  Please come and pickup his bones.

I’ve researched the headline news of the Maui News archives January 1914 through August 1915 and found no stories corresponding to such an attack.  The newspaper occasionally reported murders and suicides and accidental deaths so assume they would have picked up on this news.  

Whatever promulgated Natsu to take Ojiichan out of seminary school and depart for Hawaii on the SS Manchuria from Nagasaki on 13 Sep 1915 we don’t know.  They arrived in Honolulu on 28 Sep 1915.  When they arrived on Maui to “pick up” Genzaburo’s bones, they found him at the teahouse partying with geishas having a great time. 

Myth or not, Ojiichan used to say that Genzaburo forgave the assassin saying that it wasn’t the assassin’s fault for wanting to provide for his family.  The assassin was an out of work immigrant who couldn’t make ends meet.  The ones to blame were the other fishermen who got together to hire this man.  Ojiichan never told us what Genzaburo did to the fishermen who got a hui together to assassinate Genzaburo.  We can imagine what he must have done.  Probably better we weren’t informed.

True to his nature of going forward and never looking back, Genzaburo accepted the responsibility of Akiye Matsunaga (Furusato) when her parents returned to Kumamoto, Japan sometime in 1920 with their son, Yodomu Furusato, about 9.  Since he really did not intend to be burdened with a daughter, he promptly married her off to his son, Kyusaburo, not even thinking that it was an imposition on the son that he had never raised.  According to Mama, another bone of contention between his wife and himself in later years.

Genzaburo had made a lot of money over the years and he was ready to return to Madarashima and become a landed gentleman.  He wanted Ojiichan to return with them, but Ojiichan was having too much fun.  I believe it was a contest of wills between Genzaburo and his son.  Genzaburo thought that if he took Mama home with him Ojiichan and his wife would follow.  Genzaburo took Mama and had her registered on the family tree, thus reserving an heiress position in the family.  Ojiichan and his wife did not follow.

Genzaburo built his house on a stone wall built into a cove on Madarashima where they could sit and watch ships crossing the Genkai Nada Sea.  Mama said that the site was where the old Momozaki Hospital once stood.  Every typhoon season some parts of his house got demolished.  Mama was raised in this isolated, sea bound home.  To compensate for the lack of social interactions, Genzaburo built a large barn and hired workers to care for the many animals that he bought Mama.

Genzaburo spent his days taking care of his partnership with his brother-in-law, Sutematsu Makiyama (sister Kiya’s husband), taking care of his farm most of which were farmed by tenant farmers, fishing, entertaining friends and relatives who came to visit.  Occasionally, he’d take Mama to visit her horses in the highland area which he had bought to pasture the horses he bought Mama.  Mama walked to school with her maid and her maid would deliver warm lunch later in the day.  

Mama says that Natsu died of cancer in 29 Nov 1937.  Genzaburo told her at her death bed that he would join her the following year.  Mama says the day before Genzaburo died, he sat on the steps in front of the house talking to Natsu, saying it is nice of you to come and get me.  Genzaburo died on 21 Dec 1938.

Genzaburo’s adoptive parents were father Kamezou (15 Apr 1849-13 Sep 1916) and mother Kichi (27 Dec 1858-11 Jul 1938).  Genzaburo’s adopted family siblings were his sister, Kiya and Shio, Sui, Hagi, Yuku, Mito, Yai, and the 2 younger brothers, Jutaro and Seishiro.

Genzaburo Makiyama and Tanegoro Furusato left their foot prints on Maui, Hawaii in the 1910 and 1920 US Census.  In the 1910 Census they lived in Maalaea Bay Landing along with Momoi Matsunaga and her 2 children, Shigeru and Akiye.  The 1920 Census finds them living in separate districts.  Tanegoro had married Momoi and they now had 3 children, Shigeru, Akiye, and Yodomu.  Shigeru was a laborer working for the Plantation so they all lived together in Camp 1, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.  Genzaburo, Natsu and Kyusaburo, a barber working in a barbershop lived on Waikapu Road, Maui, Hawaii.  *1910 Census page; *1920 Makiyama Census page; 1920 Furusato Census page 1 and 2, jpg format.

**Hawaii State Index of Immigration, Makiyama Genzaburo arrives on 5 Dec 1899 from Saga prefecture on the Carmarthenshire.  He emigrated from Yokohama.

We sent a letter with a small donation to the Madarashima Catholic Church on 11 Jun 2010 requesting information from their archives about the Makiyama family buried in their graveyard.  We have not heard from the Church acknowledging receipt of the letter or the donation.  There are still many people with the last name Makiyama who are parishioners of this little Church on Madarashima.

30 Jan 2012, received an E-mail from Akira Makiyama who lives in Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture.  Interesting turn of events.  Wonder who he is related to?  Great-Grandmother Natsu, Great-Grandfather Genzaburo’s adoptive parents, Great Grand-Uncle Sutematsu, or by marriage to one of the Great Grand-Aunt Kiya’s children?

7 Dec 2012, received an E-mail from Sadaaki Nishida who lives in Yokohama.  He is definitely related to the adoptive family.  His great grandmother is Sui Makiyama.  Sui married Noejiro Nishida.  Fascinating how life takes unexpected turns on to unexplored territory.

A Love Story (American Makiyama Roots 1)

Kyuemon Yamaguchi (山口久右衛門)

Freedom (American Makiyama Roots 3)

Makiyama Kyusaburo  (牧山久三郎)

©December 2020 by hisiamone