The earliest wave of Japanese immigrants, the Issei (first generation), had a strong sense of their ethnic identity and retained the values and traditions of their country of birth. Most came to the United States as sojourners and planned to return to Japan after earning their fortunes. In addition, discriminatory laws forbade them from becoming American citizens and from exercising other basic rights, such as owning or leasing land. Since they were thus prevented from fully taking part in American life, it is not surprising that many still identified strongly with the culture of their homeland.
Identity and values