In 1869, the first Japanese Immigrants arrived in California in an attempt to escape the Meiji restoration, which forced them out of their houses. Many joined them in America after that, forming the first generation of Japanese-Americans, the Issei. Those immigrants then formed families and gave birth to the second generation, the Nisei. However, the cultural differences between the Issei and the Nisei, who were all born in America, created an important gap between the two generations. The short story “Seventeen Syllables”, through the relation between Rosie, a Nisei young girl, and Tome Hayashi, her mother, is a good depiction of this issue.
Chapter one of the The Contemporary Asian American Experience: Beyond the Model Minority, provides a great overview of the Asian American immigration history to U.S. and the aspects leading to the arrival of refugees from Asian countries. Since the early 1800s, hundreds of thousands of Asians have been migrating to America. As with many other immigrants, they were viewed as low class workers. Asian immigrants had very dangerous and low paid jobs that the majority of whites did not want to do. As a result, many white employers took advantage and exploited them. What strikes me the most is that Asian Americans participated in very important jobs but they were not recognized for their crucial contribution to the prosperity of the United States.
During the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, many Chinese and Japanese people immigrated to the United States, specifically to the West Coast, under the belief that they would be not only be welcomed and accepted but that they would also be able to start fresh with their lives and become successful. However, once they arrived on the coast they experienced intense inhospitality, mistreatment, and great hardships. They felt that they were misled by the United States promoting friendship and welcoming arms and claiming that all American citizens and immigrants alike could achieve the great “American Dream” with a little work.
The first Chinese immigrants flooded to America, in the hopes of “striking gold” during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Unfortunately, the citizens of California greeted these newcomers with many unfair laws. Beginning with the Foreign Miner’s License Tax Law of 1850, the Chinese experienced nothing but bigotry from the citizens who surrounded them. This inequality peaked when President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, barring the immigration of Chinese workers for ten years. During that time, the immigration of Japanese in search of work rapidly increased. These immigrants also faced racial discrimination, from their ineligibility for citizenship to the laws prohibiting Japanese from owning land. The full
On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II (Prange et al., 1981: p.174). On February 19, 1942, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War and Military Commanders to prescribe areas of land as excludable military zones (Roosevelt, 1942). Effectively, this order sanctioned the identification, deportation, and internment of innocent Japanese Americans in War Relocation Camps across the western half of the United States. During the spring and summer of 1942, it is estimated that almost 120,000 Japanese Americans were relocated from their homes along the West Coast and in Hawaii and
Ronald Takaki, an academic scholar who helped pioneer the field of ethnic studies, quoted American politician Norman Mineta in Takaki’s book titled Strangers from a Different Shore. “When one hears Americans tell of the immigrants who built this nation, one is led to believe that all our forebearers [sic] came from Europe. When one hears stories about the pioneers going west to shape the land, the Asian immigrant is rarely mentioned” [Takaki 27]. Many history books leave out the role that Asian American immigrants played in the history of this nation such as the thousands that “helped to build the very transcontinental railroad referred to in the magazine’s announcement and [the] many that settled permanently in California” [Takaki 28]. American history has almost equated the term “American” with “white” or “European” and by doing so leave out the role that Asian Americans have played within the development of America. Now one must rethink the history of America but this time include the Asian American to fully understand the cultural diversity that led to the America known to the world today. The experiences of the various Asian groups- Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Asian Indian, and Southeast Asian- are all very different from each other, yet similar when conducting a cross-national comparison of these different groups of Asian
The main purpose of this exhibit is to inform the audience as to the injustices committed against Japanese Americans during World War II. The exhibit shows how the U.S. Constitution was ignored for a brief time of national crisis. Another purpose of "A More Perfect Union" is to celebrate the achievements of Japanese Americans. Despite the way they were treated and the conditions they lived in at the time, those living in the relocation centers lived nearly normal lives. They wrote books, painted pictures, attended school, played sports, and so on. Their achievements during wartime are also extensively depicted.
To be a Japanese immigrant in the early 1900s was difficult but after December 7, 1941 things only got worse. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. “Although conflict had been underway in both Europe and Asia for years, the United States did not formally enter the hostilities until December 8, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously declared the attack on Pearl Harbor ‘a day which we live in infamy’ and asked Congress for a declaration of war” (Wu and Izumi). After the attack on Pearl Harbor “race became increasingly associated with loyalty in the United States” (Harth 254). “What Japan had done was blamed on Japanese Americans” (Wu 2). On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Executive Order 9066 granted the secretary of war and his commanders the power “to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded” (Executive Order 9066). “Although the text of Executive Order 9066 did not specifically mention Japanese Americans, it was intended to apply to them exclusively” (G. Robinson and G. Robinson 4).
In the 1880’s, America began seeing the first Japanese immigrants arrive in the Pacific Northwest. The Japanese came to this country searching for a better life. Many hoped to begin a new life in America where they could raise their families. There were others who came here merely to earn and save money only to return to Japan later on. The Japanese people who began their lives in America experienced little racism and discrimination, that is, before December 7th, 1941 when the country of Japan bombed the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. After this event, the Japanese-American people’s lives would change dramatically.
When discussing the significance of war on Asian American communities, it is important to consider the effects of World War II. Largely regarded as one of the most international and important conflicts in American history, World War II involved America and the Allied powers fighting against the Axis powers. The experiences of Asian Americans at the time take on two different sides: while many Asian American groups such as the Chinese were able to gain more liberties under new legislation, Japanese-Americans were subject to discrimination and incarceration. These two experiences may seem separate from one another, but they both illustrate the process of race reconfiguration at the time. The race reconfiguration occurring during World War II
In February of 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066; this gave the foundation for the mass relocation of more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. This mass relocation caused Japanese Americans -on the West Coast- to be removed from their homes for the majority of World War II. After a year of surviving in addition to waiting in the camps, the Japanese Nisei were allowed to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Making up the entirety of the regiment, the Japanese Nisei fought for their country during the events of World War II. During these events, the Japanese Nisei compromised their self-pride along with their lives for their country. Notwithstanding the fact of facing the battle on two fronts -the prejudice at home plus the fight on the enemy’s front- the Japanese Nisei of the 442nd RCT (Regimental Combat Team) came back from the war as Japanese American citizens, not “Japs.”
Japanese immigrants and the following generations had to endure discrimination, racism, and prejudice from white Americans. Two months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the United States government to forcibly removed thousands of Japanese-American citizens who lived on the West Coast. They would relocate them to concentration camps in remote parts of Arizona, California, Idaho, and other states in the West because of an unfair reason from white Americans due to fear and ignorance. The relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps was one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history. Approximately, 130,000 Japanese immigrants were relocated to these interment camps, lost their businesses, forced to give up their homes and assets in addition to their freedom. Most of the population were long-standing immigrants (Issei) who arrived before 1924 or American-born children of immigrants (Nisei) who were solid members of the community and loyal to their country.
Throughout time, the role that Women had in the early twentieth century to the present has changed drastically and it has changed for the better. Japanese American Women residing in the United States, has experienced the evolution of their culture, tradition, values and their role in society. However though it seems as if there is no time in this ever so rapid society, they still continue to pass down culture and tradition through each generation. Some key terms that are crucial in order to understand the essay are, Issei, or the first generation, Nisei, the second generation ,and Sansei, known as the third generation.Over time the Women slowly moved away form being the average Homemaker and transforming into a respected and valued member of society.
When an earthquake destroyed the area in 1906, natives thought that they would be able to reclaim the area and kick the immigrants out. To their surprise, the old, run-down Chinatown was rebuilt in the exact same location but had an entirely different feel. The new Chinatown was bright, cheery, and characteristically oriental with “curved eaves, colorful street lanterns, recessed balconies, and gilded facades” (Bancroft). The new Chinatown brought to California exactly what it was intended to: more attraction, more people, and therefore more business. With filling the job spots that were difficult and grueling and then attracting tourism to California, the immigrants were now boosting our economy in more way than one.
Migration of Japanese people to America began in mid-1800s as they searched for peace and a mode of payment to improve their family conditions, and escape from unstable home conditions in Japan. Migration resulted in a life of great hard work and severities of hostility in the workplace. In addition, Japanese immigrants had to face multiple legislative attacks from Americans and endure poor working conditions because of their presence in a foreign land.