Japanese American History: An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present

Japanese American History: An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present

by Brian Niiya
     
 

On June 19, 1868 a ship sailed into Honolulu harbor carrying 148 Japanese men, women and children. Contract laborers brought in to work American-owned Hawaiian sugar plantations, these were the first of over 300,000 immigrants from Japan who settled mostly in Hawaii and California between 1868 and 1924. Their American descendants today number over 750,000 and live in… See more details below

Overview

On June 19, 1868 a ship sailed into Honolulu harbor carrying 148 Japanese men, women and children. Contract laborers brought in to work American-owned Hawaiian sugar plantations, these were the first of over 300,000 immigrants from Japan who settled mostly in Hawaii and California between 1868 and 1924. Their American descendants today number over 750,000 and live in every state. Japanese Americans have played an important and largely unrecognized role in American history. Japanese American History is the first encyclopedic reference work documenting their story. The lack of an accurate historical interpretation of their experience has resulted in depictions of Japanese Americans that range from the blatantly racist ("yellow peril") to the patronizing ("model minority"). Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, other Americans became unwilling to distinguish them from the enemy, and as a result more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes to concentration camps - a mass internment that lasted three years. Only in the last 20 years has a more complete story begun to emerge. A new generation of scholars has focused on the experience of the Japanese Americans themselves. Using Japanese-language sources, oral histories and other previously neglected material, these scholars have illuminated the world of issei labor leaders, nisei soldiers, nikkei women writers and many others. Achievements and contributions by individuals in virtually every field are noted here. Japanese American History brings this material together for the first time, in an accessible and comprehensive reference format. There are four sections: a chronology of major events in Japanese American history in historical context; more than 400 A-to-Z entries on significant individuals, organizations, events and movements; a thorough bibliography including all major works on Japanese Americans; and an illuminating historical overview by Professor Gary Okihiro, a dist

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Published in conjunction with the opening of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, this encyclopedia is intended for a general audience. The contributors make extensive use of oral history and anecdotes in telling their stories. What distinguishes this work is the detailed telling of significant events from the Japanese perspective. The work is divided into three parts: a brief historical overview, a chronology, and an encyclopedia covering people, organizations, and events pertinent to Japanese Americans. The volume also includes 80 black-and-white illustrations from the museum archives (not seen), a list of acronyms, and a pronunciation guide. Entries in the encyclopedia section range from a few paragraphs for individuals to several pages for events or organizations, such as the much-decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team of World War II fame. For students and interested readers, this is a useful guide to an important American ethnic group. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries with strong reader interest in this area.-- Robert Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
School Library Journal
YA-An informative resource that provides an overview of Japanese immigration; a chronology of major events that have affected Japanese Americans; and encyclopedic entries of people, places, vocabulary, and historical happenings. Black-and-white photographs enhance the presentation.
Zom Zoms
Japanese Americans are called the "model minority," but the harsh reality of the struggles of the early Japanse immigrants, the issei, just to own land or to obtain U.S. citizenship is an epic in itself. The contributions of Japanese Americans in all areas of life are varied and important, but unfortunately, very few of us know this history. "Japanese American History" is designed "to reflect the current state of knowledge in the field of Japanese American studies." Of use to the general reader and the researcher, the book is divided into three parts: an overview of Japanese American history, an 800-item chronology, and the encyclopedia. A pronunciation guide, a list of acronyms, a bibliography, and an index complete the work The introduction outlines a few rules: words in small capitals have a corresponding entry in the encyclopedia, names are presented given name first in Western order, long-vowel symbols are omitted, and Japanese terms or expressions are defined or translated parenthetically The overview, "The Japanese in America" by Gary Y. Okihiro, covers four phases, from early migrants to Hawaii in 1865 to the present. This excellent coverage of the Japanese American experience would be of value by itself The chronology gives a brief bibliographic citation to a printed source of information for each major event in Japanese American history. At the end of the chronology is a list with full bibliographic information for these sources. Also included are general events, such as Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic and the Spanish American War, to put the other events in context The encyclopedia section provides entries on events, people, organizations, locations, and terms. Most of the entries have a list of further reading. Many of the resources are primary sources. Entries written by researchers other than compiler are signed with that individual's name. "See" references are used to direct readers to related topics. The entries range from a short paragraph defining a term to a full-page essay on an important topic such as "Endo, Ex Parte", a major legal case brought to show that Japanese Americans did not deserve to be interned during World War II The entries range from names most people would recognize, such as S. I. Hayakawa, to such less well known figures as Bob H. Suzuki, first American-born Japanese American to become president of a university The legal blocks that were set up by anti-Japanese factions are covered in depth in the entries "Alien Land Laws" and "Anti-Japanese Movement". Japanese culture is represented in entries about sports and in the entry "Sanba" (Japanese American midwives). Literature, theater, and art are also included The definitive tragedy of the Japanese Americans, their internment during World War II, is covered in depth in all three sections of this work. Many of the individuals involved, the laws that were upheld by the Supreme Court, and the final admission of guilt in the redressing of this injustice are easily discernible themes Eighty black-and-white illustrations add interest to the book. The work ends with a basic library of 100 books and journal articles on Japanese Americans. The titles range from academic to popular with full bibliographic citations and brief annotations "Japanese American History", an informative survey of Japanese Americans covered from their point of view, is a recommended purchase for academic, public, and high school libraries.
Booknews
Produced under the auspices of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, this comprehensive reference culls information from primary sources--Japanese-language texts and documents, oral histories, and other previously neglected or obscured materials--to document the history and nature of the Japanese American experience as told by the people who lived it. The volume is divided into three major sections: a chronology with some 800 entries; a 400-entry encyclopedia covering people, events, groups, and cultural terms; and an annotated bibliography of major works on Japanese Americans. Includes about 80 b&w illustrations and photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816026807
Publisher:
Facts on File, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/01/1993
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 11.32(h) x 1.34(d)

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