The homes we create and where we live in the Pacific Northwest are reflections of our heritage and traditions. This Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is reflecting on the impact made by our AAPI community on the real estate industry, from their history to the homes they’ve created that will stand the test of time.
Over 12.8% of the Seattle Metro identifies as AAPI. For real estate and its related industries, the vision and passion of AAPI leaders can be seen across the region, including co-founder of Green Canopy NODE Sam Lai, local architect George Suyama, James Fung and Whitney Maehara of NB Design Group, and James Wong CEO of Vibrant Cities and the developer of Infinity Shore Club Residences. Also on this list is Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty’s Executive Director of Land Division, Tadashi Shiga.
As a third-generation Japanese American whose grandfather immigrated from Japan in the early 1900s, Tadashi is a part of three generations of Shigas who lived in the same Central District home in Seattle. The Shigas lost everything in World War II when Tadashi’s family was sent to an internment camp—including a successful business in Chinatown (then Japantown). In the aftermath of this, Tadashi’s parents became peace advocates, and their philosophy was witnessed in everything they did.
Tadashi’s values build on the peaceful world his parents worked so hard for. Among his passions are green building and affordable housing. But as he entered the industry, he noticed that he didn’t see anyone who looked like him and was keenly aware of that when he looked for jobs.
“Once I started walking into board rooms, I felt as though I never saw another Asian American seated at the table. I didn’t know the possibilities for my career because no one looked like me to inspire me,” says Tadashi. “That is why now I continue to mentor at the University of Washington where I am fortunate enough to be involved in the career development of Asian American students that are going to change the world!”
While Tadashi and other leaders like him work to drive building, real estate, design, and more into the future, it is also important to use this month honoring AAPI heritage by recognizing that a legacy of discrimination is still felt in the U.S. As recent as 2020, there were 279 anti-Asian hate crime incidents, according to the Department of Justice. That’s a 77% year-over-year increase.
“I believe that during this time of year, it is important to remember all the accomplishments and struggles our AAPI community has endured,” says Tadashi. “We need to move forward and embrace our differences and be truly proud of our culture and how we became who we are.”
Want to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month all year long? Check out and support these AAPI locally owned businesses and restaurants in Seattle.
A version of this article also appears on tadashi.com.