Issei and Nisei: The Settling of Japanese America by Ronald TakakiOne of the arguments that was used against Japanese Americans in the WWII years was they they either refused or were incapable of assimilating in to American culture.
The argument ignored that fact that, for one thing, the Issei, the first generation settlers, were banned from becoming US citizens. The type of prejudice, hatred and discrimination the Japanese Americans encountered encouraged them to bond together even more strongly. The book writes:
”Ethnic solidarity encouraged the Japanese to rely on themselves and on each other. Issei gave each other jobs and loans and supported each others businesses. Kept out of factories and skilled trades by the hostility of white workers, many Issei became entrepreneurs. They went into business for themselves as shopkeepers and farmers.
”But the very success of their ethnic economy hurt the Japanese, who were caught in a vicious cycle. When they retreated into their self-contained ethnic communities for survival and protection, they were accused of not wanting to fit into America. Their withdrawal into their Japanese communities made it even easier for the whites to look upon them as outsiders, as strangers from a different shore.”
Specific examples of the prejudice are given, such as a sign that says “No More Japs Wanted Here”, and a barber shop that said to Japanese “We dont cut animals hair.”
”In 1890 fifteen Japanese workers began making shoes for a white manufacturer in San Francisco, but they lost their jobs because of pressure from the Book and Shoemakerss White Labor League.”
Even the head of the AFL, Samuel Gompers, said “Your union will under no circumstances accept membership of any Chinese or Japanese” when addressing the American Federation of Labor.
In 1901 the governor of California warned about the “menace” of the “unlimited flow” of Japanese workers. The Asiatic Exclusion League was formed just a few years later, its goal to keep America white by using “all possible measures to prevent or minimize the immigration of Asiatics to America.”
The book notes that President Theodore Roosevelt publicly spoke out in favor of the Japanese Americans, especially in relation to the attempt of the San Francisco school board to discriminate against them, but in private he felt America should be preserved as “a heritage for the white people.”
The book contains lots more information; those were just some of the things that I felt were the most interesting.
Nisei Soldier Regiment
A Brief History of Japanese American Relocation During World War II
Photos left to right: 1 Mrs. The first wave of Japanese immigrants eked out their piece of the American Dream by working as laborers on farms, mines, railroads, factories, and fishing boats. They worked hard and saved money to buy land and houses. Japanese American farmers transformed barren plots of land on the West Coast into lush farms. In the process, they earned the envy of all farmers. Despite restrictive laws, the Issei married, had children, and became economically stable in America as merchants, tradesmen, and farmers.
Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. At that time, nearly , people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them American citizens, were living in California, Washington, and Oregon. On February 19, , President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order No.
As women in Japan , they are taught to submit to the word of their husbands or any other man so that the concepts and roles of man and woman remain constant. Still, so muted are they that these events are never overtly explained to the children — the reality of their lives is never candidly expressed to the Nisei, a factor that may have driven many Japanese-American children away from a close maternal bond. As the women practiced enryo , Japanese men interned in the United States were bound by the culturally-displacing tradition of gaman. Hayashi explodes in a fit of bottled rage; Mr. Hosoume remains silent, dejected and trapped in his own home; and Rev.