About the www.Alaskool.org project and its developers
 Frank Yasuda
By Robby Hickok

Photos provided by student R. Hickok

Frank Yasuda


Kyosuke Yasuda or more commonly known as Frank Yasuda, was one of the first Japanese to contact the Alaska Natives, and see the beautiful land of Alaska. He played a very important role to the Inupiaqs of Point Barrow, Alaska. A role that not very many people know about. His most impressive contribution to them was when he migrated them down and founded the town of Beaver, Alaska on the Yukon river, where they settled. Due to the decreased amount of whales left because of poaching and the measles breaking out in there town, almost killing them all. He also tried a little mining and ended up very successful at it.

Frank Yasuda was born in 1868 in Miyagi Japan. By age 15 both of his parents had passed away and all of his sisters were of married and all his brothers were becoming doctors, like his dad, and his dad's dad. At age 15 you're considered an adult.

Not having any of his family to care for him or help him out, he went and got a job with the Isinomaki branch of the Mitsubishi shipping company. four years later he became a trainee crewman for the company's international route. On one of his routes he got off at San Francisco and stayed He worked there on a vegetable farm for about 6 months. After being treated bad because he didn't know how to speak English he replied to an add in the paper to be a cabin boy on the USS Cutter Bear. This brought him to Alaska. where they watched for illegal seal and whale hunting.

During one trip the Bear got stuck in the ice and Frank volunteered to go ashore to Barrow to get help, which nearly killed him. Once ashore he decided to stay and he resigned from the Bear. Frank was quickly accepted into the Native community. In the book, "An Alaskan Tale "by Jiro Nitta, it says how the Inupiaqs thought he was an Eskimo from an island called Japan. He adapted to the necessary skills to survive in Point Barrow and he also picked up their language very quick. Charles Brower, one of the first white man there, helped Frank a lot.

After Frank went on his first whale hunt which he has never done, he was like a hero, because he was the first one to spear the whale. He was then chosen to be the lead hunter on the next hunting trip. Because of his great success on his first hunting trip. The Eskimos believe that the whales like woman. So the Chief of the hunting group would give his wife to the lead hunting man, in this case Frank, to sleep with. They thought by doing this you would gain the scent of the woman so the whales would come to
you. Frank refused , since this was not customary where he was from. This was also a way to protect the woman when the men were out hunting.

The Russian and American ways of hunting as well as the illegal whale hunting greatly affected the population of the whales. When the time came for whale hunting season no one could catch anything. A local shaman said that Frank was to blame for it. No one had to tell Frank that they wanted him to leave, he knew. He went to Charles Brower for advice, who told Frank he could send him to Flaxmann Island for a couple of years. So Frank did. On his trip to Flaxmann Island, the one woman in Barrow who he loved chased him down to spend the rest of her life with him. Her name was Nevelo and she moved to Flaxmann Island, where they would trade