Saibara, Kiyoaki (1884–1972)

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: Biography

Updated: November 14, 2017

Kiyoaki Saibara, developer of the Gulf Coast rice industry, was born in Kochi Ken, Japan, in 1884. At the age of eighteen he came to Texas on the request of his father, Seito Saibara, to help produce the first rice crop in Texas using seed imported from Japan in 1904 at Webster in Harris County. Saibara, who was an engineering student studying shipbuilding at the time, arrived with his family, a group of laborers, and 300 pounds of seed rice as a gift of the emperor of Japan. He later practiced airplane seeding in water and raised Santa Gertrudis cattle to rotate pasture and rice land. In the 1940s Saibara affirmed his loyalty to "American ideals and institutions" through short-wave radio broadcasts to the people of Japan, and his four sons served in the United States armed services. Saibara was briefly interned after the war. He became a United States citizen in 1953, after forty-nine years in the country, and served as an elder in the Webster Presbyterian Church. His second wife, Takako, whom he married in 1955, was a well-known Japanese poet who taught the art of ikebana (flower arranging) and performed the Japanese tea ceremony. Saibara retired in 1964 and died on October 18, 1972. See also RICE CULTURE.

Houston Metropolitan Research Center Files, Houston Public Library. Houston Post, October 19, 1972. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Agriculture
  • Farmers
  • Promoters
  • Peoples
  • Japanese
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “Saibara, Kiyoaki,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 14, 2017

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