JACL Monterey Heritage Center

JACL Heritage Spotlights

Born in Taku, Saga Prefecture in 1866, immigrated to the US (San Francisco) in 1885 at age 19. Noda first worked in agriculture in the Central Valley of California by 1895 he was living in Watsonville providing labor for the Spreckels Sugar plant. 

He moved to Monterey in 1895, under contract to the Pacific Improvement Company to provide wood. While in Monterey, Noda noticed the incredible abundance of salmon and abalone in the Monterey Bay. He described in a letter that there was so much abalone that it was “a carpet of abalone.” He, along with partner Hyakutaro Ide, wrote a letter to the government of Japan extolling this abalone abundance. 

He also sent for fishermen from the Wakayama Prefecture and established a small Japanese fishing colony on present day Cannery Row. 

In 1902, with American partner, Harry Malpes, Noda built the Monterey Fishing and Canning Company, the very first cannery on Cannery Row. They canned abalone, salmon and sardines. They sold the cannery in 1907 to the Pacific Fish Company.

In 1904, Noda brought from Japan, Japanese artisans and built the Japanese Tea House at Lovers Point.

Noda died on April 23, 1915, in Colusa at the age of 49

Born in Nemoto, Chiba Prefecture in 1867, Kodani, who was in the abalone business in Japan, first arrived on the Monterey Peninsula in late September or early October ,1897. He came here at the behest of the Japanese Government to investigate the possibility of developing an abalone industry in California. Finding his way south to Point Lobos, Kodani, at first rented from the Carmel Land & Coal Company what is now Whalers Cove. The next year, business man and mining engineer, Alexander M. Allan, purchased all 64 acres of Point Lobos and a partnership was born. Allan saw the financial possibilities of the abalone business and brought needed capital and together Kodani and Allan created the Point Lobos Canning Company.

Kodani brought abalone divers, known as ama, or free divers, from the Chiba prefecture, but the waters of the Monterey Bay proved to be too cold for these ama, and so Kodani sent for helmet divers, changing forever the California abalone industry and becoming a true pioneer. By 1912, the Point Lobos Canning Company accounted for almost 80% of the California abalone market. Kodani and Allan opened the first abalone cannery at Whalers cove round 1902. Their canned abalone product was sold to restaurants and grocery stores all over California, used to make soups and salads.

Kodani was a leader within the Monterey Japanese community, and Point Lobos was (and still is) a very special place for that community today. Gennosuke Kodani died on July 1, 1930 at the age of 63