Japanese American Cultural Facts (Source: Novas and Cao, Everything You Need to Know About Asian American History)
Religion Among Japanese Americans • Japanese American religions: the majority up to the 1920s followed Shintoism and Buddhism; increasing converts to Christianity, and some believe it holds the key to assimilation into American society (144).
Japanese Americans in California • Many Japanese immigrants ended up in San Francisco, taking the place of Chinese after the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was ratified. The 1906 earthquake sent Japanese out to other parts of California, where Japanese Americans became successful farmers.
Discriminatory Legislation • In 1913 the Alien Land Act prohibits Japanese in California and other “aliens ineligible to citizenship from owning land. Thirteen other states do likewise. Some alien land acts in force until 1947 (94).
The Press and “The Yellow Peril” • The San Francisco Chronicle publishes a series of articles in 1900 warning America of the perceived Japanese immigration threat, the “yellow peril.” Japanese represented as hordes, threatening to take land and white women. The headlines read: “Crime and Poverty Go Hand and Hand with Asiatic Labor,” “The Yellow Peril: How Japanese Crowd Out the White Race,” and “Brown Artisans Steal Brains of Whites.”
Rise in Japanese Immigration • The 1965 Hart-Cellar Act mattered to Japanese immigrants: it lifted the 1924 National Origins Quota Act and place standard limits on immigration from each country, with 20,000 maximum from each country (134).
Famous Japanese Americans • Japanese Americans: Kristi Yamaguchi (4th-generation, or Yonsei) champion ice-skater; Nobu McCarthy, actress; Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, of The Karate Kid (1984); Isamu Noguchi, famed sculptor, creator of akari lamps; Minoru Yamasaki, chief designer of the World Trade Center, of the Twin Towers; Norman Mineta, mayor of San José and now Democratic Senator from California.
The Japanese American Internment • FDR signed Executive Order 9066 on March 18, 1942. A military imperative. • Internees relocated, housed in racetrack stalls and fairgrounds. • Hastily constructed internment camps. • Disruption of family life.
Japanese American Chronology • 1868 149 Japanese illegally shipped to Hawaii. • 1885 San Francisco builds a new segregated “Oriental School.” • 1893 Japanese in San Francisco form first trade association, the Japanese Shoemakers’ League. • 1900 Japanese plantation workers begin going [from Hawaii] to the mainland • 1904 Japanese plantations workers engage in first organized strike in Hawaii.
Chronology, cont. • 1905 San Francisco School Board attempts to segregate Japanese schoolchildren. Asiatic Exclusion League formed in San Francisco. • 1906 Japanese scientists studying the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake are stoned. • 1907 Japan and the United States reach “Gentlemen’s Agreement” whereby Japan stops issuing passports to laborers desiring to emigrate to the United States. • 1908 Japanese form the Japanese Association of America.
Chronology, cont. • 1913 California passes alien land law prohibiting “aliens ineligible to citizenship” from buying land or leasing it for longer than three years. • 1920 Japan stops issuing passports to picture brides due to anti-Japanese sentiments. • 1921 Japanese farm workers driven out of Turlock, California. • 1922 Takao Ozawa v. U.S. declares Japanese ineligible for naturalized citizenship. Cable Act stipulates that any American female citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship would lose her citizenship.
Chronology, conclusion • 1924 Immigration Act denies entry to virtually all Asians. • 1941 United States declares war on Japan following attack on Pearl Harbor; 2,000 Japanese community leaders along Pacific Coast states and Hawaii are rounded up and interned in Department of Justice camps. • 1942 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 authorizing the secretary of war to delegate a military commander to designate military areas “from which any and all persons may be excluded” incidents at Poston and Manzanar relocation camps.
See the LAS 325 Website • http://www.public.iastate.edu/~ematibag