This house is significant due to its association with both Paul C. Horiuchi and T. Gregory Saito, who were important figures in the Japanese American community, as well as the art and architecture community in the Northwest. The property functions as a reminder of the presence of Japanese Americans in South Seattle prior to their incarceration during World War II, as well as their reintegration and professional success after the war.
This single-family residence is located in Rainier Beach. Constructed in 1966, the house was commissioned by Paul C. and Bernadette S. Horiuchi and designed by T. Gregory Saito. The Horiuchi family remained in the house through 1969.
Paul Chikamasa Horiuchi was born on April 12, 1906 in Oishi, Japan. He died in August 1999 of complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. Paul was a Japanese American painter and owner of Tozai Art, an antique shop and painting studio in downtown Seattle. Paul began developing his artistic skills at an early age in Japan. He studied calligraphy, as well as sumi techniques under the artist, Iketani. He won a second prize in a nationwide competition for a landscape painting when he was thirteen years old. In 1917, when Paul was fifteen years old, he immigrated to the United States and worked on the Union Pacific Railroad in Wyoming with his father. He met his future wife, Bernadette Suda in 1934 on a trip to Seattle to visit local artists Kenjiro Nomura and Kamekichi Tokita. On June 11, 1935, Paul and Bernadette were married at Maryknoll Church, and they were the first Japanese Catholics to be married in Seattle. The couple had three children, Paul M. Jr., Jon, and Vincent. While the Horiuchis were not incarcerated during World War II, Paul was fired from his railroad job and spent several years working odd jobs. The family relocated to Seattle in 1944, and Paul established Horiuchi's Body and Fender Shop in Downtown Seattle. Paul became increasingly well known for his artwork and active in the Northwest artist community. He received awards and honors in exhibitions around the Northwest and was friends with many prominent local artists, including Mark Tobey and John Matsudaira. In 1951, he opened Tozai Art where he sold antiques as well as his own artwork. In the early 1950s, he was one of four Japanese American artists featured at the Zoe Dusanne Gallery, Seattle’s first professional Modern Art gallery. His first solo exhibition was held at the Dusanne Gallery in May 1957. Paul’s artistic style developed into abstract compositions using collage techniques.
Tsutomu Gregory Saito was a Japanese American architect, born in the United States in 1922. Saito was a staff sergeant in the United States Army during World War II and received his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Washington in 1951. From 1955 to 1964, he was a principal at John I. Mattson & Associates; but, by 1964, he had opened his own practice, T. Gregory Saito, Architects, in Seattle. Saito also worked for a period as Chief Architect within the Public Building Service Design and Construction Branch, General Services Administration.
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Japanese American community grew and expanded to South Seattle this time as a result of relatively less restrictive exclusion laws. Despite the 1889 Alien Land Laws, which prevented non-citizens from owning land, they were able to purchase property under the names of their second generation family members. While the Immigration Act of 1924 inhibited further Japanese immigration, their social and economic presence continued to expand in Seattle. However, when President Roosevelt issued his Executive Order 9066 in 1942, the Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest were sent to internment camps for the duration of World War II. Many families returned to Seattle after the war and successfully rebuilt their homes and professional practices.