George Shima

Document Type

Digital Project

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2022


George Shima was the first Japanese American millionaire; at his pried, his bunnies produced about 85% potato of California, which gave him the title of the potato king. He was born in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan, and studied an introductory course at National University in Kunitachi, Japan. He emigrated to San Francisco in 1889 and changed his name from Ushijima Kinji. He worked as a domestic servant and became a farm laborer in Sacramento Delta. Afterward, he becomes a management class that provides Japanese farm labor for the local white farmers. In 1890, he started his own farming business and bought some cheap swampland in San Joaquin Delta, which American farmers considered lousy farming land. But he discovers a new farming agricultural technology and management skill, which brings considerable success. Soon after corner and monopoly of the potato market, 1920, his brand "Shima Fancy" owns 85% of the market and is worth over $18 million, which is about $243,478,405 today.