The History of Japanese American Japanese Americans are a big part of what makes up the Asian American group in the U. S. These beautiful Japanese Americans are among the sixth largest Asian American communities. According to the 2010 census, the largest group of Japanese Americans is settled in California with a population of 272,528. These large amounts of Japanese American communities may be quite settled in now, but they struggled to achieve complete freedom and peace.
Much of the Japanese American history has not been easy, this paper will explain how with a focus on their immigration process, hy they immigrated to America, and the reality of the American life for a Japanese immigrant. The immigration process for Japanese Americans began after the changes made by the Meiji Restoration in 1868. From that time until 1991, over 400 thousand Japanese people left with destination to America, and mainly to Hawaii and the West Coast. In 1907, the Gentlemen’s Agreement between the government of Japan and the U. S. topped immigration of all workers but still allowed businessmen, students, and the partners of Japanese immigrants who were already in the U. S. Shortly after, the Immigration Act of 1924 completely ended almost all immigration of Japanese people to the U. S. But this Immigration Act somehow created good generational groups within the Japanese American Community. The first generation of Japanese Americans is the Issei, which include only the original immigrants. The second generation is the Nisei; this generation included the children of original immigrants (Issei).
The third generation of Japanese Americans is Sansei, this generation included children of the intermarriages between the Nisei. Although the Japanese American generations had been started in the U. S. , the Naturalization Act of 1790 restricted natural U. S. citizenship to only “free white persons. ” This act did not allow the Issei to gain U. S. citizenship and left them with no rights such as voting and becoming land owners. In the most recent years, Japanese immigration to the U. S. has lessened and is roughly 5 to 10 thousand per year.
This immigration process from Japan to America was not easy for the people of Japan, and why exactly they traveled here is a bit more positive. Thousands of Japanese people leaving their home land surely had to have life changing reasons for migrating. Sure enough, Sugar Plantation Jobs and picture brides were the main reasons and causes of the Japanese immigrating to the U. S. The men migrating for work on the plantations were farmers and laborers, men who knew how to work the land. These large amounts of single Japanese men in U. S. were racially profiled and treated with the worst intentions.
Soon, these men would need someone to interact with other than their co-workers and disrespectful lunas (supervisors). This brought on the migration of over 10 thousand Japanese women to the U. S. between 1908 and 1920. “Picture brides” -as they were called- were mainly nfluenced by the “Omiai” Japanese custom, which was a way of life during the 16th century. The Omiai custom involved two unattached strangers meeting and possibly getting married; this is basically what picture brides and Japanese men in the U. S. himself with a simple short message on the back.
The photos that were being sent were often photos taken at a younger age when they were at their prime physical appearance. The messages being written on the back of these photos were not all that truthful either; these men who worked on sugar plantations would write lies about how they were rich doctors and business men. These photos were then sent all across Japan to single and younger girls, usually a young girl who still lived with her family. The girl along with her family would obviously get excited knowing that she would soon marry a wealthy doctor or business man, and immediately send her off for America.
Upon arrival in the U. S. , these picture brides were completely disappointed with everything they now had to live with. Instead of a wealthy man, they were shocked with a plantation worker and forced to work alongside of their new husband. Since these picture brides were very young girls and usually virgins, he men had to force them to have sexual relations, this made life for them all the worse. Some of the picture brides traveled back to home to Japan, but most picture brides stayed with their husbands and allowed the growth of Little Tokyo.
Soon enough though, the U. S. government stopped issuing passports to picture brides and eventually completely restricted the immigration of Japanese women to the U. S. , but by this time families were already growing. By 1930, Little Tokyo had an approximate population of 35 thousand Issei and Nisei, all possible because of the picture brides and their sacrifices. The immigration of Japanese to America was brought on mainly for economic, employment, and marriage reasons; but upon their arrival, the expectations of America were not exactly met.
With magnificent dreams and large hopes, the Japanese immigrants had expectations of a better life in the America, but what they came to was a bitter reality. These expectations turned nightmares are widely shown through the songs and poems the Japanese immigrants sang while at work on the sugar cane plantations in Hawaii. “Hawaii, Hawaii, like a dream so I came. But my tears are flowing now in the cane fields… Japanese] Americans were not prepared for their experiences as plantation workers in Hawaii.
They had greater control over their time and activities, working with family members and people they knew. They could say ‘it’s okay to take the day off today,’ since it was [their] own work. We were free to do what we wanted. We didn’t have that freedom on the plantation. We had to work ten hours every day. ” This section in the book Strangers from a Different Shore, by Ronald Takaki shows just how much Japanese Americans despised their new lives. These hard working people were treated like farm animals; they were awakened at extremely early hours f the morning by rude and loud screams.
The people of Japan who were expecting a better life and who came for a new life full of peace were shaken by this new reality. The reality was that they were brought here as laborers, laborers who had ten hours shifts, got paid mere cents per hour, and then spent their pay in the local plantation store and gambling sites. The new life of a Japanese American was a hard one unfortunately full of self sacrifice, sweat, and tears. This way of life for Japanese Americans continued this way for years until rebellions began to occur. Both men nd women had to fight to change this new life that they were faced with in America.
They were tired of being disgraced and tired of living this American life for Japanese Now with roughly Japanese Americans here today, it is safe to say that they have come a long way from when they first arrived in the 1800s. Struggling through plenty of discrimination and racism, Japanese Americans had to make a change in the way they would live their future in America. Their immigration process, why they immigrated here, and the reality of the American life for a Japanese immigrant, has helped mold and shape Japanese Americans to be the community hat they now are.
Japanese Americans are a group of people who stay together and support each other no matter the circumstances, and this is 100 percent understandable knowing the history that they obtain. Works Cited “Immigration. Japanese. ” . N. p. , n. d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. “The Immigration Act of 1924 Oohnson Reed Act). ” Office of the Historian. N. p. , n. d. web. 26 oct. 2013. Ichise, Laura. ” The History of to the United States KCC Alterna- News. N. p. , n. d. Simpson, Kelly. ” Brides: Building a Family Through Photographs. ” www. kcet. org. N. p. , 1 Aug. 2012. web. 6 NOV. 2013.