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 (431)
Life in Japan and reasons for leaving (97)

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97 items
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
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 …

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.

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.

Floyd Shimomura Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-466-4)
vh Floyd Shimomura Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-466-4)
Grandparents' family history: finding Japanese address on a tombstone
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 …

Hideo Hoshide Interview I Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1000-184-3)
vh Hideo Hoshide Interview I Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1000-184-3)
Father's family background in Japan: sinking ship results in loss of family business
Art Abe Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-206-1)
vh Art Abe Interview Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-206-1)
Father's family background, immigration to the United States
Art Abe Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-206-2)
vh Art Abe Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-206-2)
Mother's family background: parents immigrated to U.S., children followed
Hideo Hoshide Interview I Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-184-5)
vh Hideo Hoshide Interview I Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-184-5)
Mother's family background: getting married through a matchmaker
Jim Akutsu Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-2-5)
vh Jim Akutsu Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-2-5)
Mother's background: prominent samurai family in Japan

Interview was conducted over two days because of delays caused by technical difficulties.

Jim Akutsu Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-2-1)
vh Jim Akutsu Segment 1 (ddr-densho-1000-2-1)
Father's background in Japan, experiences with discrimination upon arrival in U.S.

Interview was conducted over two days because of delays caused by technical difficulties.

Masao Watanabe Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-103-2)
vh Masao Watanabe Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-103-2)
Father's reasons for coming to the United States: no longer the favorite son

At the time this interview was taped, Mr. Watanabe was recovering from a recent series of cancer treatments.

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
Satoru Ichikawa Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-236-2)
vh Satoru Ichikawa Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-236-2)
Father's family background: seventeen generations of Buddhist ministers
Jim Akutsu Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-2-2)
vh Jim Akutsu Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-2-2)
Father's family background and parental lessons: broaden your environment

Interview was conducted over two days because of delays caused by technical difficulties.

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