Shinpei Mykawa (前川 真平 Maekawa Shinpei?, December 1, 1874 in Aichi, Japan – April 24, 1906 in Erin Station, Texas) was a Japanese rice farmer who introduced the cultivation of rice in parts of southeast Texas. The community of Mykawa and Mykawa Road in Houston are named after him.
Mykawa graduated from what would become Hitotsubashi University. At the time it was Tokyo's number one commercial college. In 1903 Mykawa first came to the United States as a naval officer representing Japan at the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. While on his way to return to Japan, Mykawa passed through Houston and decided that the land around the city was perfect for rice cultivation. Mykawa settled in Erin Station, an unincorporated community in Harris County, Texas, and established a rice farm there. Mykawa, after the World's Fair, had organized a rice farming project, and returned to Texas in 1906 with four other men. Mykawa introduced rice growing in the Erin Station area.
On April 24, 1906 Mykawa died after he fell underneath one of his pieces of agricultural equipment. The Santa Fe Railroad Company renamed Erin Station to Mykawa in his honor, and Japanese immigrants to Texas perceived it as friendly towards Asian Americans because of the renaming. A school established there, Mykawa School, and Mykawa Road were named in his honor. Mykawa's name, as the town name and the name of Mykawa Road, is pronounced differently from the actual Japanese name Maekawa. The spelling of his family name was stated by a friend living in Texas as "Mykawa", and the friend had given the railroad station that name.
As of 2008 Mykawa is an area within the city of Houston.
Mykawa's grave is located in the Hollywood Cemetery in Houston. During World War II, the cemetery placed his gravestone in for safekeeping for a period after threats against the grave were telephoned.
- Connor, R. E. "How That Road Got Its Name." (Archive) Houston Post, Sunday May 2, 1965. Spotlight, Page 3. – Available on microfilm at the Houston Public Library Central Library Jesse H. Jones Building
- "Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Name." (Archive) July 19, 2007. Retrieved on June 19, 2009.
- "MYKAWA, TX." Handbook of Texas. Retrieved on June 19, 2009.
- "改称される「ジャップ通り」 その２." at the Wayback Machine (archived February 12, 2008) (Archive) Sanyo Shimbun. Retrieved on June 19, 2009. "（注：綴りはＭａｅｋａｗａではない。Ｍaｅ-だと、"メイカワ"と発音されやすいので、あえてＭｙ-として "マイカワ"と読ませたのだろうが、それが今や"ミカワ"と発音されている）。"
- Karkabi, Barbara. "PEARL HARBOR: 1941–1991 – THE INTERNEES – Farms lured Japanese here – Common interest in growing rice smoothed relations." Houston Chronicle. Sunday December 1, 1991. Special p. 6. Available at NewsBank, Record Number 12*01*825948. Available at the Houston Public Library website with a library card. "Others followed Saibara, including Shinpei Maekawa, one of several Japanese entrepreneurs who came to the Houston area. He was killed in 1906 in a farming accident. As a tribute to him, a Texas friend renamed the nearby railroad station (and in the process changed the spelling) to Mykawa Station. Today, the road that runs parallel to the railroad tracks in South Houston is still called Mykawa Road. "
- "GVCA News CCT 2CC5." Garden Villas Community Association. Retrieved on June 19, 2009. Archived February 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Hosokawa, Bill. "Nisei: the quiet Americans : the story of a people." University Press of Colorado, 1992. ISBN 0870812734, 9780870812736. Shinpei Mykawa is mentioned in p. 144.
- (Japanese) 奥泉栄三郎『在米日本人研究の栞 第9号』(Archive)文生書院ウェブサイト – 前川の事績を伝聞で知る日系移民女性の証言を収録。