Fishing and canneries

Japanese Americans found work at salmon canneries along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, and their labor was welcomed in Alaskan towns such as Ketchikan and Petersburg as early as the 1890s. They traveled by ship to the cannery towns, where they slowly developed small communities whose population swelled with the yearly arrival of workers. Issei (Japanese immigrant) entrepreneurs started the oyster industry from scratch in Puget Sound. Japanese American oyster farms became thriving businesses before World War II.

Industry and employment (398)
Fishing and canneries (251)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Takahashi v. Fish and Game Commission

251 items
Asunto (ddr-csujad-42-8)
doc Asunto (ddr-csujad-42-8)
A medical certificate issued by Dr. José Gómez García in Mexico. It certifies that Fumio Fred Takano has been diagnosed with appendicitis and necessitates the surgical intervention immediately. It appears that Fumio became ill when fishing Tuna in Mexico. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: tak_01_08_001
Harbor Boat Building Company (ddr-csujad-43-22)
img Harbor Boat Building Company (ddr-csujad-43-22)
Photograph number 1095 of Harbor Boat Building Company. California Marine Curling and Packing Company can be seen off to the right side. Negative scan. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: ter_01_039
[Seiichi Okine?, fishing] (ddr-csujad-5-23)
img [Seiichi Okine?, fishing] (ddr-csujad-5-23)
A photograph of two Japanese men holding fishing rods. Right is probably Seiichi Okine. Includes fish that they caught. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: oki_01_05_007
Letter from Frank Herron Smith to C. I. O. Reporter, Station KYA, San Francisco, May 5, 1945 (ddr-csujad-21-3)
doc Letter from Frank Herron Smith to C. I. O. Reporter, Station KYA, San Francisco, May 5, 1945 (ddr-csujad-21-3)
Letter to popular local radio reporter requests that he speak out against injustices perpetrated against Japanese American citizens during World War II. Smith notes his responsibility for "the care of our 37 Japanese churches," states that he is concerned that church members are not being allowed to work in canneries in Sacramento by the union, and …
Executive meeting of the Monterey Peninsula Japanese American Citizens League, December 22, 1942 (ddr-csujad-44-195)
doc Executive meeting of the Monterey Peninsula Japanese American Citizens League, December 22, 1942 (ddr-csujad-44-195)
Minutes of the Monterey Peninsula Japanese American Citizens League executive meeting. Includes reports on several issues facing the community, including the Monterey fishing problem and unemployment. A new, independent committee is formed to address these issues. Also includes discussion of acquiring the property located at 424 Adams Street in Monterey, the cost of remodeling the club …
Permit of local board for registrant to depart from the United States (ddr-csujad-42-7)
doc Permit of local board for registrant to depart from the United States (ddr-csujad-42-7)
A permit issued by Los Angeles Local Board. It certifies that Fumio Fred Takano's departure from the United States is "not likely to be called for military service." He works for Del Monte Cannery, San Diego, California, and requests the permit to visit Mexico for fuel supplies when fishing tuna. See this object in the California …
California Marine Curing and Packing Company (ddr-csujad-43-23)
img California Marine Curing and Packing Company (ddr-csujad-43-23)
Photograph number 1097 of the California Marine Curling and Packing Co. [Company] on Terminal Island. Two men are pictured walking to the building while another man is pictured standing by a car. Negative scan. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: ter_01_041
Men on ship's deck (ddr-densho-15-33)
img Men on ship's deck (ddr-densho-15-33)
These Japanese Americans are on their way to work in the Alaskan canneries. The man lying down on the far left is Mike Hirahara. The three men closest to the camera from top to bottom are Min Kanazawa, (first name unknown) Sano, and George Nojiri.
Scow (ddr-densho-15-119)
img Scow (ddr-densho-15-119)
The scow was used to gather oysters. A winch-operated dredge was dragged across the oyster beds at high tide, and the harvested oysters were then emptied onto the scow or a bateau. In order to deliver the oysters to the processing plant, both the scow and the bateau had to be towed.
Two men washing canned salmon (ddr-densho-15-90)
img Two men washing canned salmon (ddr-densho-15-90)
Fred Kosaka (left) and (first name unknown) Takehara wash cans of salmon that have just been cooked. Washing was necessary to remove debris produced during the cooking process.
Two men fishing for trout (ddr-densho-15-91)
img Two men fishing for trout (ddr-densho-15-91)
Fred Kosaka (top) and (first name unknown) Sano fish for Dolly Varden, a type of trout. The two men were in Alaska to work in the canneries.
Men salting salmon (ddr-densho-15-22)
img Men salting salmon (ddr-densho-15-22)
Pictured at Shear Water Bay near Kodiak Island, these Japanese Americans are salting the nose area of the salmon, which will later be pickled. Pickled nose cartilage was considered a delicacy.
Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-107)
img Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-107)
These workers are unloading oysters from a bateau at the processing area. The oysters were shoveled into a hopper and onto a conveyor belt that led into the processing area, where they were opened.
Men playing go (ddr-densho-15-26)
img Men playing go (ddr-densho-15-26)
These Japanese Americans are seen traveling to Alaska to work in the canneries. The man on the left facing the camera is Mr. Abe.
Oyster bateaux (ddr-densho-15-106)
img Oyster bateaux (ddr-densho-15-106)
The seven oyster bateaux shown here are about to be towed to the processing area.
Salmon cannery (ddr-densho-15-88)
img Salmon cannery (ddr-densho-15-88)
Mike Petrakov unloads salmon onto a conveyor belt for processing. Many Japanese Americans also worked for this same cannery.
Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-108)
img Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-108)
These workers are unloading oysters from a bateau at the processing area. The oysters were shoveled into a hopper and onto a conveyor belt (left side of image) that led into the processing area, where they were opened.
Steamship identification ticket (ddr-densho-15-19)
doc Steamship identification ticket (ddr-densho-15-19)
This ticket belonged to Norio Mitsuoka, who was on his way to Alaska to work in the canneries.
Cabin quarters (ddr-densho-15-37)
img Cabin quarters (ddr-densho-15-37)
Yozo Sato reads during the voyage to Alaska. Sleeping on a bunk was a luxury. Most passengers had to sleep on cots.
Steerage ticket cover (ddr-densho-15-24)
doc Steerage ticket cover (ddr-densho-15-24)
This ticket belonged to Norio Mitsuoka, who was eighteen at the time he traveled to Japan.
Shucking oysters (ddr-densho-15-93)
img Shucking oysters (ddr-densho-15-93)
These Japanese Americans are shucking oysters on a table. Unshelled oysters were stored behind the wall shown here. The workers grabbed the oysters through an opening in the wall, opened them, placed the oysters in buckets, then deposited the shells on a conveyor belt below the worktable. Shuckers were paid by the bucket.
Oyster farmer (ddr-densho-15-115)
img Oyster farmer (ddr-densho-15-115)
Mr. Mukai steering oysters into a box, where they were steamed open for canning.
Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-105)
img Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-105)
These two farmers are unloading oysters from a bateau for processing. Left to right: Chuck (last name unknown) and Jack Tanabe.
Station-house dock (ddr-densho-15-94)
img Station-house dock (ddr-densho-15-94)
Oyster-farm workers often lived in station houses built on pilings in the bay. Since the only way to access the house was by boat, the houses had floating docks, such as the one shown here.
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