The Gilroy Historic Museum, 195 Fifth St. in Gilroy is hosting a special one-day viewing of the Kitaji Bibles on October 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
These are incredible translations of the bible into Japanese were colorfully illustrated by Captain Kitaji of the Salvation Army in the 1920s through 50s. He was the caretaker of Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs. Scholars have compared these volumes to the calligraphy of the medieval monks. The two-volume set is being donated to the “Japanese and Japanese American Diaspora Project” at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, but are making a special appearance in Gilroy first. They are said to be “the most significant artifact associated with Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs” because of the near 30 years Captain Kitaji lived there while working on the Bibles.
Originally of Watsonville and Castroville, the Kitaji Family now is made up of the nieces, nephews and their children who grew up in Salinas, Gilroy, Carmel, and Watsonville. The Kitaji Family was able to stop the auction sale of their uncle's life work of transcribing the Bibles, and are making them available through the Hoover Institute for public viewing and scholarly study. The "Japanese and Japanese American Diaspora Project" documents where the people went, what they did when they got there, and if they left a legacy. The Kitaji Bibles does all that, as reflected in the Captain's personal notations in his Bibles. This special public viewing on October 21 is a rare opportunity to see the Kitaji Bibles before they go to the Hoover.
Laura (Kitaji) Domínguez-Yon