Yutaka (Yuta) Nishikawa was born on April 3, 1927 to Kurakichi and Yone (Goto) Nishikawa in Mandeville Island, California. Yuta passed away on November 15, 2022 at the age of 95 after a long struggle with dementia.
Yutaka grew up in Liberty Island on a farm prior to World War II. In 1942, his family was interned at Gila River, Arizona and eventually transferred to Tule Lake, California. While at Tule Lake, Yutaka was one of 6,500 Americans of Japanese ancestry to renounce their US citizenship. His family thought it was the fastest way out of the internment camps and possibly a return to Japan. With his citizenship in question, Yuta and his siblings remained at Tule Lake until 1946, after their US citizenship was restored.
After World War II, the Nishikawas moved back to Orwood, California where Yuta and his brother Hiroshi worked as farm laborers during the day and drove trucks hauling produce to Oakland at night. In 1951 they started farming on their own as a partnership known as Nishikawa Brothers.
During the Korean War, Yuta was drafted into the US Army’s military intelligence and spent 16 months at the battlefront. He served as an interrogator since he spoke Japanese and most Korean POWs spoke Japanese. While in the Army, Yutaka was able to visit Japan for the first time and meet his older sister, Terue who had remained in Japan when their parents immigrated to California.
In 1960, the Nishikawa Brothers purchased their home ranch in Dixon and later incorporated their business as Nishikawa Farms, Inc. (NFI) in 1971. NFI became one of the largest farms in the Dixon area and was the largest tomato grower for the Dixon Cannery, a Campbell’s Soup processing plant. The company retired their farming operations in 1991. In 1956 Yutaka was introduced to Sakaye Tenma by a family friend. After a brief courtship they were married on November 23, 1957 in Sacramento. Sakaye preceded him in death in 2014 after 57 years of marriage. The Nishikawas had 4 children, Brenda Fujita (Jon), Elaine Yuzuriha (Todd), Suzanne Bristow (Stephen) and Rodney (Jeannie); 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
Yutaka was a longtime member of the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, the Sacramento Aichiken-Jinkai, the Sacramento Hiroshima Nikkei Jinkai and the Nisei VFW. He is survived by his sister Carole Fukumoto of Dixon, sister-in-law June Nishikawa of Davis, sister-in-law Sumi Tenma of Newcastle and sister and brother-in-law Kaz and Sho Yoshida of Lincoln; his children, grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.