Note: This is an encore post from 2006.
Oct. 19, 1907
On a visit to Japan, K. Tsuneda of California met an attractive young woman named Toku. Telling her family that he was a wealthy Stanford student, Tsuneda married Toku and they embarked for the United States so his new wife could get an American education.
Her education began the moment they arrived in San Francisco: Tsuneda revealed that he was neither wealthy, nor a Stanford student. In fact, they both had to go to work. They moved from Berkeley to Redlands, where they separated. After reuniting briefly in Los Angeles, Tsuneda vanished, Toku said in seeking a divorce.
In court, Toku told Judge Charles Monroe that her father wouldn’t let her return to Japan until she got a divorce. Monroe rejected her claim of desertion and took her claim of failure to provide under advisement.
The Times never followed up on what it called the first Japanese divorce tried in Los Angeles, so it’s unclear what became of Toku.
Judge Charles Monroe, who presided over Divorce Court for many years, and his wife, Ella, were married in 1880 in Kansas. At that time, the state did not require a marriage license.
As Quakers, they were required to stand up at a meeting one month before the intended wedding, hold hands and state their intentions to marry. “It they passed without objections being presented, then the principals themselves read their own service and the ceremony was duly sanctioned by a wedding certificate signed by all the witnesses present,” The Times said.
Monroe was appointed to the Superior Court in 1905 and retired in 1927, at that time, the longest service of any judge in the state. He died in 1937 at the age of 88.