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Life in Japan and reasons for leaving

Most of the Issei (first-generation) immigrants belonged to the peasant farming class that had been hurt by industrialization, inflation, and rising taxes caused by the Meiji government's modernization program. The majority of the immigrant workers came from the four prefectures of Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kumamoto, and Fukuoka. The country was hard hit by depression following the Russo-Japanese war, which ended in 1905. Hoping for better economic opportunity than was available in the rigid society of Japan -- then just emerging from the feudal era -- ambitious men, especially younger sons who would not inherit property, traveled to the new country with the dream of making their fortune. Pioneer Issei women -- the first Japanese women to receive public education under Meiji reforms -- joined them as brides, many seeking to avoid living under the authority of their marital families.

Immigration and citizenship (279)
Life in Japan and reasons for leaving (80)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Immigration

80 items
Mits Koshiyama Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-130-1)
vh Mits Koshiyama Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-130-1)
Family background: father immigrated to the U.S., returned to Japan to marry
Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-153-2)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-153-2)
Family background: parents' immigration to the United States in the early 1900s

Although Mr. Matsumoto does not identify himself as a Kibei (American-born person of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the U.S.), some of his life experiences are similar to those who do identify themselves ...

Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-98-1)
vh Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-98-1)
Father's immigration story: "They jumped on the first boat they thought was destined for America"
Shosuke Sasaki Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-78-4)
vh Shosuke Sasaki Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-78-4)
Father's reasons for immigrating to U.S., jumping ship in Vancouver, B.C.
Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-92-1)
vh Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-92-1)
Father immigrates to start anew and avoid Japan's civil strife

This interview was conducted at the 1998 Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans National Convention, held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Seichi Hayashida Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-14-1)
vh Seichi Hayashida Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-14-1)
Motivation for Issei immigration: to earn money and return
Junkoh Harui Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-11-1)
vh Junkoh Harui Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-11-1)
Orphaned and without work, father immigrates to Bainbridge Island, Washington and the "largest mill in the world..."

This interview was done outdoors in the Bainbridge Gardens Nursery which resulted in increased background noise and frequent interruptions by the business P.A. system.

Min Tonai Interview I Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-354-8)
vh Min Tonai Interview I Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-354-8)
Mother's family background

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

Kara Kondo Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-139-1)
vh Kara Kondo Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-139-1)
Father's family background: immigration to the U.S., settled in the Yakima valley
Kara Kondo Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-139-2)
vh Kara Kondo Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-139-2)
Mother's family background: unaccustomed to new life on a primitive farm
Frank Miyamoto Interview I Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-50-1)
vh Frank Miyamoto Interview I Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-50-1)
Parents' emigration to the United States, starting a new life in Seattle
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