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 (302)
Life in Japan and reasons for leaving (84)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Immigration

84 items
Fude Tanioka interview (ddr-csujad-6-32)
doc Fude Tanioka interview (ddr-csujad-6-32)
Oral history interview with Fude Tanioka. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: SCRC_TANIOKA_FUDE
Jane Tomeko Sugimura (ddr-csujad-8-68)
doc Jane Tomeko Sugimura (ddr-csujad-8-68)
Oral history interview with Jane Tomeko Sugimura. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Sugimura, Jane Tomeko
Kazuye Matsunaga (ddr-csujad-8-38)
doc Kazuye Matsunaga (ddr-csujad-8-38)
Oral history interview with Kazuye [Kazue] Matsunaga. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Matsunaga, Kazuye
Tamijiro Mori (ddr-csujad-8-93)
doc Tamijiro Mori (ddr-csujad-8-93)
Oral history interview with Tamijiro Mori. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Mori, Tamajiro
Background for the Relocation Program (ddr-csujad-19-34)
doc Background for the Relocation Program (ddr-csujad-19-34)
This is the Background for the Relocation program prepared for information of Staff of the War Relocation Authority. It also describes the early Japanese migration to the United States and some of the economic and social aspects of American Japanese Life. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WRA_01-22_02
Barneston's Japanese Community (ddr-densho-381-175)
doc Barneston's Japanese Community (ddr-densho-381-175)
A report prepared for the Seattle Water Department that discusses the history of Japanese immigration and community in Barneston, Washington, including a transcript of Yoshi Hibiya's oral history.
Yoshimi Matsuura Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1014-6-2)
vh Yoshimi Matsuura Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1014-6-2)
Father's family background: immigrating possibly to avoid military conscription
Roger Daniels Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-17-2)
vh Roger Daniels Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-17-2)
Discussion of the Japanese American immigrant experience (audio only)

This interview is audio-only. It contains raw footage used by Steven Okazaki in his 1985 film Unfinished Business.

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 …

Helen Harano Christ Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1013-6-3)
vh Helen Harano Christ Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1013-6-3)
Grandparents' immigration to Hawaii, eventually settling in Berkeley
Harvey Watanabe Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1008-5-2)
vh Harvey Watanabe Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1008-5-2)
Father's experiences fighting in the Russo-Japanese War

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

Harvey Watanabe Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1008-5-3)
vh Harvey Watanabe Interview Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1008-5-3)
Circumstances of parents' immigration to the U.S.

Members of the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) arranged for and conducted this interview in conjunction with Densho.

Shosuke Sasaki Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1002-2-1)
vh Shosuke Sasaki Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1002-2-1)
Family background: born in Japan; father's unorthodox arrival in the United States

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not …

Jimmie Omura Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1002-11-1)
vh Jimmie Omura Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1002-11-1)
Family background: father was a stowaway at age nineteen on a ship from Japan to the U.S.

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in …

Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview Segment 1 (ddr-jamsj-2-7-1)
vh Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview Segment 1 (ddr-jamsj-2-7-1)
Father's background: immigrating to U.S. by way of Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Takashi Matsui Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-45-2)
vh Takashi Matsui Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-45-2)
Parents' reasons for immigrating to United States: no work in Japan after Russo-Japan war
Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-153-1)
vh Roy H. Matsumoto Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-153-1)
Family background: grandparents' immigration to Hawaii

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 as such.

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 …

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