Saibara, Seito and Kiyoaki, Contributions to the Texas Rice Industry by
300 blk E NASA Parkway
Webster , 77598
"Contributions to the Texas rice industry" line added to marker text & description; this section of NASA Road 1 is now NASA Parkway; per Bernice Mistrot Aug. 26, 2010 the THC Atlas shows a second entry for this marker under Marker Number: 15062, Marker Title: Japanese Contribution to Texas Rice Ind. [1974 marker], error report via Atlas site sent to THC. NOTE: Need better photo of marker CU.
Directions: From I-45, north on NASA Parkway (NASA Road 1), 1 tenth mile past SH 3, marker on right after Old Galveston Road NOTE: Historical Marker sign points left, marker is on right/east side of road inbound to NASA
Key Time Period: 1893 - 1919 City Beautiful - WW I
Marker Text: Seito Saibara (1861-1939), former president of Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and first Christian member of the Japanese Diet (Parliament). Arrived in the United States in 1901 to study theology, and with the desire to establish a Japanese colony in America. Saibara came to Texas in August 1903 at the invitation of the Houston Chamber of Commerce to advise farmers on the cultivation of rice, which was emerging as a major cash crop. He decided rice farming was the ideal business for a colony, leased this tract of land (which he later purchased), and sent for his family.
The oldest son, Kiyoaki Saibara (1884-1972), brought from Japan 300 pounds of Shinriki seed, a variety superior to native rice; and together, father and son planted a field near the canal (1/2 mile NE). Their first crops were utilized primarily for distribution as seed in Texas and Louisiana. The Saibaras built a house (250 yards S), and several families soon moved here from Japan, but the colonization effort failed because of disillusionment and homesickness of the new colonists.
Seito Saibara aided the growth of the Texas rice industry with improved rice strains and agricultural techniques until his death, and Kiyoaki Saibara continued new developments until his retirement in 1964. (1974)
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 618 Y
GPS Coordinates: 29 32.389, 95 06.901
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 10758