In 1885, Denichiro (B.D.) Mukai immigrated to San Francisco from Japan. In 1906, he came to Seattle. In 1910, after learning about Vashon strawberries while working at a wholesale business in Seattle, Mukai moved to Vashon Island with his wife Sato Nakanishi to start their own strawberry business. Sales of the perishable berries was limited to local markets. In 1924, the Mukais, joined by their son Masa, set up the first processing plant on the island.
Using an innovative process to prepare the berries for freezing, the Mukais were then able to sell to distant wholesale markets at more competitive prices. Following Sato's death, B. D. married Kuni Mukai, and it was she who designed the garden that surrounds the family house. It combines traditional Japanese gardening principles and plants with Western suburban garden features such as lawns. Her tea parties, held when the cherry blossoms bloomed, were memorable social events in the community.