week 4 reading 2

week 4 reading 2 - Necessity r for the Issei to I separated...

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Unformatted text preview: Necessity r for the Issei to I separated from Japan barred the Lpanese immigra- d Kiichi Kanzaki hat Japanese im- y about anymore. y here an integral :rtain they would )e to grant them. : question of Jap- termined to prove l had filed an ap- Ozawa was con- ident in 1894, he lifornia, and had 5. He then moved npany and settled LS denied, Ozawa for the Territory a was not eligible 1e court declared, ites to become an hire.62 _ y me Court. Ozawa character. Honest . - or gamble. More " He did not have - with any Japanese- 311ng to an Amer- l school. He spoke ‘ :his children could . 'oman' educated in- pan. Loyal to the “our Uncle'Sam” .ut Ozawa' lost his :itizenship, the Su- Caucasian}: Com- expressed the rage Ethnic Solidarity 2.09 . and disappointment of the Japanese community: “The slim hope that we had entertained . . . has been shattered completely.”‘S3 _ An even more devastating development soon occurred. In 1924, Congress enacted a general immigration law that included a-ptovision ' prohibiting the entry of aliens ineligible to' citizenship. Although they had not been named explicitly, the Japanese had been singled out for special discriminatory treatment, for the Chinese and “Asian In~ dians had already been excluded by other legislation. “This new law' is very unjust,” observed Chinese immigrant Andrew Kan in 1924. “This law I think really made for Japanese, but they are afraid to say only Japanese, because Japan is a very strong nation, might make great deal of trouble. So they have to include Chinese, too, but it is not necessary for the Chinese, because they have [the Chinese exclu— sion] law.’.’ But the anti-Japanese exclusionists did not hesitate to state explicitly the law’s purpose. In his testimony to Congress shortly before its passage, V. S. McClatchy of California declared: “Of all races ineligible to citizenship, the Japanese are the least assimilable and the most dangerous to this country. . . . With great pride of race,‘ they have no idea of assimilating in the sense of amalgamation. They do nor come to this country with any desire or any intent to lose their racial or national identity. They come here specifically and professedly for the purposeof colonizing and-establishing here per— _ manently the-proud Yamato race. They never cease to be Japanese.”64 ' Actually the exclusionist provision for the Japanese was totally unnecessary. The 1924 law provided for immigration based on nah ' ionality quotas: the number of immigrants to be admitted annually i-Was limited to 2 percent of the foreign-born individuals of each nationalityresiding in the United States in 1890. At that time, there :Were only 2,039 Japanese in this country. Two percent would have :been only forty, and for its quota, Japan would have been entitled - only to the minimum allowance of one hundred immigrants. in 1920, I _. he Japanese “colony” that supposedly threatened McClatchy’s .-America actually amounted‘to no more than one hundredth of one .ercent of the US. population. . In an editorial on'the 1924 law, the Rafa ‘Shimpo of Los Angeles colded the lawmakers for betraying America’s own ideals and dis— ' onoring its best tradition. The Congress had “planted the seeds” of ' : Ossible future “cataclysmic racial strife,” the newspaper warned, by branding” the Japanese people as inferior. In a “Message from Japan 0 America,” the japan Times and Mail made a distinction between z I o ' _ - Necessity Ethnic Solidarity restriction and discrimination: if the immigration law had excluded all immigration or had placed japan on the same basis as other nations, Japan would not have resented it. “But Japan does resent a clause that, while not mentioning Japanese specifically, affects Jap- anese alone of all the races . . . and stamps Japanese as of an inferior race.” When R. Ode, a Japanese foreman at a lumber Company, was asked by an interviewer in 1924 what he thought about the new ‘ ; exclusion law, he exploded: “That’s not right. It’s all right if they treat all countries like that, but just Japan, that’s not right.” Due to the unjust law, many Issei protested, the Japanese were.“no longer men but dogs.”55- _ v _ The 1924 restriction seemed to complete a cycle. The Issei had initially come as Sojourners and had kept their cultural and national ties to Japan: f‘Necessity,” the usual difficulties and circumstances of trying to start new lives in America, encouraged them to promote- intragroup c00peration and assistance. But, as they began to settle here, they encountered racism that drove them into ethnic enclaves and strengthened their sense of ethnic solidarity. They were scorned as “strangers from a different shore”: unlike European immigrants, the “Japs,” as Robert E. Park put it in 1913, did not have “the right color.” Rejected and isolated, Issei came to rely heavily on one an- by the larger society, Jap own communities, and wl'. discrimination for being ‘- Waves of despair ant communities. The Issei ha ning the land here, they h_ “sand in the windy air.” T] it.” But, inspired by the? moistened the land with; wilderness fields into ferti! reaching as far as the eye could whisper to themseli of satisfaction as they ga: Kneeling to the ground, t] calloused fingers. Issei livé after the Ozavva decision? seemed to be coming to “a were “ending darkly,” the fields ruins for melancholj bitter sake, mumbling inn: other as Japanese in order to survive — to find employment, invest ' Alger“; in shops and farms, and protect themselves against an antagonistic g "3‘": ow white society. The very cohesiveness of the Japanese refueled reac- tions against “diversity” and confirmed hostile claims of Japanese . One immigrant concentrai unaSSImllability. Reacting to the exclusmnlst agitation of the larger = . l’ E society, Issei turned inward, sheltering themselves in their separate 35"”? 5. ethnic communities.“ - - grating “The Japanese cannot say,” an Issei admitted, “they are not gain-‘3 clannish. But if they have become more so . . . it is because of re- straint, economic deprivation, social ostracism, and political discrim- ination.” Condemning the new law as discrimination based on race, the Japanese government explained the reasons for the Japanese re» luctance to assimilate: “The process of assimilation can thrive only in a genial atmosphere of just and equitable treatment. Its natural ‘ growth is bound to be hampered under such a preSSure of invidious discriminations as that to which JapaneSe residents in some states of the American Union have been subjected, at law and in practice, for ' nearly twenty years. It seems hardly fair to complain of the failure of foreign elements to merge in a community, while the community chooses to keep them apart from the rest of its membership.”'Spurned Dispirited by prejudi America, a few Issei dCCldl setbacks by sobbing, “sh: facing their situation stoic: tined to look back in sorro decreeing their exclusion. 5 pair, saying they were “pi hardships.” Others also ga so bitterly. “We try hard t you always Japanese,” one American and all time talk; even if do all time like in l Necessity r had excluded basis as other [1 does resent a ly, affects Jap- s of an inferior Company, was about the new lll right if they right.” Due to ‘eref‘no longer 2. The Issei had al and national ‘ circumstances em to promote- began to settle ethnic. enclaves y we're scorned arr-immigrants, have “the right vily on one an- loyment, invest ' an antagonistic 2 refueled reac- ms of Japanese in of the larger 1 their separate . “they are not because of re- olitical discrim- 1 basedon race, he Japanese re- can thrive only cut. Its natural are of invidious 1 some states of in practice, for n of the failure the community rship'.”‘SpurI1ed Ethnic Sblidarity - a . 21 I by the larger society, Japanese immigrants had retreated into their own communities, and whites were now blaming the Vietims of racial ‘ discrimination for being“strangers.”67 ' Waves of despair and anger swept through Japanese-immigrant communities. The Issei had come all the way to America, and scan- ning the land here, they had seen the deserts, the sagebrush, and the “sand in the windy air.” They had bet-m told “nobody could transform it.” But, inspired by the liminality of the place, the pioneers had moistened the land with their sweat and had “turned these wide wilderness fields into fertile land,” “fresh green rows of strawberries reaching as far as the eye could see.” My, what extravagance, they could whisper to themselves. They felt an earned ebulliente, a sense of satisfaction as they gazed upon the earth, pregnant with crops.- Kneeling to the ground, they lovingly rubbed the dirt between their - calloused fingers. Issei lives “decorated the land” as “history.” But, after the Ozawa decision and the 1924 immigration act, their lives seemed to be coming to “nothing.” Over thirty years of hard work were “ending darkly,” their accomplishments inconsequential, their . fields ruins for melancholy ruminations. Alone Issei would sip their bitter sake, mumbling into their cups: ' America ._ . . once A dream of hope and, longing, Now a life of tears. One immigrant concentrated all of his deep interior grief in poetry: Issei’s common'pa‘st — I _ Gritting of one’s teeth Against exclusion."8 Dispirited by prejudice and “so much of dark side of iife” in America, a few Issei decided to return to Japan; Some reacted to the setbacks by sobbing, “shikataganai” (“it cannot be helped”) and facing their situation stoically. Perhaps, they thought, they were des- tined to look back in sorrow at their achievements, their very' success decreeing their exclusion. They withdrew into a world of mute des- pair, saying they were “pioneers” and therefore had to “suffer the hardships.” Others also gave up trying to become Americans but did so bitterly. “We try hard to be American but Americans always say you always Japanese,” one of them explained in anger. “Irish become American and all time talk about Ireland; Italians become Americans even if do all time like in Italy; but Japanese-can never be anything 2 I 2. . _ Necessity but Jap.” He felt the Japanese had been denied the equality of op¥'_ portunity offered to immigrants from Europe. “I know I am not wanted,” he continued. “No use try to be American, we all have to go back to Japan some dayf"? . . But other Issei refused to let “necessity” dictate their future and to sigh “shileataganaz‘,” sealing their disappointment in tongues of stone and shrouding their rage behind curtains of silence. They knew the dream of-America should have delivered more, for they were no longer dekaseginin and they spOke loudly of their expectations and their rights. “We live here,” declared George Shima, a‘ farmer and _ president of the Japanese Association of America. “We have cast our lot with California. Our interest is here, and our fortune is irrevocably wedded to the state in which we have been privileged to- toil and make a modest contribution to the development of its resources.” . More importantly, many Issei had in fact become Americans; “We have unconsciously adapted ourselves to the ideals and manners and customs of our adopted'country, and weno longer entertain the slightest desire to return to our native country.” We have “drifted farther and farther away from the traditions and ideas” of Japan, and “our sons and daughters do not know them-at all. They do not ' care to know them. They regard America as their home.”70 ' The 1924 law was a turning point' in the lives of the Issei gen— eration. They saw the handwriting on the wall: they had no future in their adopted land, except through their children — the Nisei. The Issei could see they had been doomed to be foreigners forever, their - dreams destroyed and their sweat soaked up in "an expanse called America. Denied land ownership and citizenship, the Issei placed their “only one hope left” in their American-born children. Hope for my children Helps me endure much from it, This alien land. Like the carp, which they admired for its inner strength and intrepid spirit, the immigrants had swum against the currents of adversity; still, struggling upstream and climbing waterfalls in search of a calm pool where Japanese might live peacefully in America, they found. themselves driven backward." Hyphenated Americans: The Nisei Generation But theirs had been a life of constant struggle, ganbatte. And many Issei became even more determined to help their children succeed. Ethnic Solidarity ‘ Through the Nisei, the forced to be “stranger: in American schools, tl bassadors” for the Issr the culture of Japan a generation. As “intern the West and the Wed Orientals andOcciden in each,” explained Is: of different races to kn like Americans, their f and maybe we do n01 were taught about the them with tolerance. '. to the larger society.-72 lssei tried to give for their mission by tea I to parent), girl (mutu: gamanzuyoi (strength “‘precious records” of pains and exclusion.” My 5 Your ' To in Undi Their children were A and the Issei hoped th dignity and the equali' The immigrants ' to send their children to Americans.”- They : ucation, for it would discrimination and “ti are American citizens, ' as though repeating a i never had. Go to schoc it comes.” Education employment opportur were willing to give u] education of their chi ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/28/2009 for the course APA 200 taught by Professor Musikawong during the Fall '07 term at ASU.

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week 4 reading 2 - Necessity r for the Issei to I separated...

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