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Issei

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Issei is a Japanese language
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 term used in countries in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 to specify the Japanese people
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 first to immigrate
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

. Their children born in the new country are referred to as Nisei
Nisei
During the early years of World War II, Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes in the Pacific coast states because military leaders and public opinion combined to fan unproven fears of sabotage...

 (second generation), and their grandchildren are Sansei
Sansei
Sansei is a Japanese language term used in countries in South America, North America and Australia to specify the children of children born to Japanese people in the new country. The Nisei are considered the second generation, grandchildren of the Japanese-born immigrants are called Sansei and...

 (third generation). All of them come from the numbers "one, two, three" in the Japanese language
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, as Japanese numerals
Japanese numerals
The system of Japanese numerals is the system of number names used in the Japanese language. The Japanese numerals in writing are entirely based on the Chinese numerals and the grouping of large numbers follow the Chinese tradition of grouping by 10,000...

 are "ichi, ni, san."

Brazilian, American, Canadian and Peruvian citizens


Although the earliest organized group of Japanese emigrants settled in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in 1897, the four largest populations of Japanese and descendants of Japanese immigrants live in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

.

Brazilian Issei




Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, numbering an estimate of more than 1.5 million (including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity), more than that of the 1.2 million in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Issei Japanese Brazilians are an important part of that ethnic minority in that South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n nation.

American Issei



The first members of the Issei did not migrate directly to the United States, but to Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 (which was at the time American-controlled but not yet part of the U.S.). These migrants—the first of whom arrived on board the steamship City of Tokio
City of Tokio
SS City of Tokio was an iron steamship built in 1874 by John Roach & Sons for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company...

 in February 1885—were common laborers escaping hard times in Japan, and their emigration was subsidized by the Hawaiian government, which needed cheap labor for its sugar plantations. A large number of Japanese eventually settled in Hawaii.

Direct migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 of Japanese to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 began a little later in 1885 with the arrival of "student-laborers". The earliest of these migrated to San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

, and their numbers constantly expanded in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Their purpose of moving to America was to gain advanced knowledge and experience in order to develop the modern society at home. Both students and laborers were attracted by the image of America as a country that welcomes foreigners. When they first arrived in the U.S., they had no intention of living there permanently and were merely students or laborers whose purpose was to learn from Americans and to bring knowledge back to their own country.

Canadian Issei



Within Japanese-Canadian communities across Canada, three distinct subgroups developed, each with different sociocultural referents, generational identity, and wartime experiences. The narrative of Issei Japanese-Canadians include post-Pearl Harbor experiences of uprooting, incarceration, and dispersal of the pre-war Japanese-Canadian communities.

Peruvian Issei



Among the approximately 80,000 Peruvians of Japanese descent, the Issei Japanese Peruvians comprise only a small number. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori
Alberto Fujimori
Alberto Fujimori Fujimori served as President of Peru from 28 July 1990 to 17 November 2000. A controversial figure, Fujimori has been credited with the creation of Fujimorism, uprooting terrorism in Peru and restoring its macroeconomic stability, though his methods have drawn charges of...

 was the Nisei son of Issei emigrants from Kumamoto
Kumamoto, Kumamoto
is the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Greater Kumamoto has a population of 1,460,000, as of the 2000 census...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Fujimori's political opponents tried unsuccessfully to prove that he was actually born in Japan—in which case, he would have been Issei like his immigrant mother and father.

Generations


Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians have special names for each of their generations in North America. These are formed by combining one of the Japanese numbers corresponding to the generation
Generation
Generation , also known as procreation in biological sciences, is the act of producing offspring....

 with the Japanese word for generation (sei 世). The Japanese-American and Japanese-Canadian communities have themselves distinguished their members with terms like Issei, Nisei, and Sansei which describe the first, second and third generation of immigrants. The fourth generation is called Yonsei (四世) and the fifth is called Gosei (五世). The Issei, Nisei and Sansei generations reflect distinctly different attitudes to authority, gender, non-Japanese involvement, and religious belief and practice, and other matters. The age when individuals faced the wartime evacuation and internment is the single, most significant factor which explains these variations in their experiences, attitudes and behaviour patterns.

The term Nikkei
Japanese diaspora
The Japanese diaspora, and its individual members known as , are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants that reside in a foreign country...

 (日系) was coined by a multinational group of sociologists and encompasses all of the world's Japanese immigrants across generations. The collective memory of the Issei and older Nisei was an image of Meiji Japan from 1870 through 1911, which contrasted sharply with the Japan that newer immigrants had more recently left. These differing attitudes, social values and associations with Japan were often incompatible with each other. In this context, the significant differences in post-war experiences and opportunities did nothing to mitigate the gaps which separated generational perspectives.
Generation Summary
Issei (一世) The generation of people born in Japan who later immigrated to another country.
Nisei
Nisei
During the early years of World War II, Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes in the Pacific coast states because military leaders and public opinion combined to fan unproven fears of sabotage...

 (二世)
The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Australia, or any country outside of Japan either to at least one Issei or one non-immigrant Japanese parent.
Sansei
Sansei
Sansei is a Japanese language term used in countries in South America, North America and Australia to specify the children of children born to Japanese people in the new country. The Nisei are considered the second generation, grandchildren of the Japanese-born immigrants are called Sansei and...

 (三世)
The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Australia, or any country outside of Japan to at least one Nisei
Nisei
During the early years of World War II, Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes in the Pacific coast states because military leaders and public opinion combined to fan unproven fears of sabotage...

 parent.
Yonsei
Yonsei (fourth-generation Nikkei)
is a Japanese diasporic term used in countries, particularly in North America and in Latin America, to specify the great-grandchildren of Japanese immigrants . The children of Issei are Nisei . Sansei are the third generation, and their offspring are Yonsei...

 (四世)
The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Australia, or any country outside of Japan to at least one Sansei
Sansei
Sansei is a Japanese language term used in countries in South America, North America and Australia to specify the children of children born to Japanese people in the new country. The Nisei are considered the second generation, grandchildren of the Japanese-born immigrants are called Sansei and...

 parent.
Gosei
Gosei (fifth-generation Nikkei)
is a Japanese diasporic term used in countries, particularly in North America and in Latin America, to specify the great-great-grandchildren of Japanese immigrants . The children of Issei are Nisei . Sansei are the third generation, and their offspring are Yonsei...

 (五世)
The generation of people born in North America, Latin America, Hawaii, or any country outside of Japan to at least one Yonsei parent.


In North America since the redress victory in 1988, a significant evolutionary change has occurred. The Nisei, their parents and their children are changing the way they look at themselves and their pattern of accommodation to the non-Japanese majority.

There are currently just over one hundred thousand British Japanese
Japanese British
Japanese in the United Kingdom are citizens or full time residents of the United Kingdom whose origins lie in Japan.-Background:-History and settlement:...

, mostly in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

; but unlike other Nikkei
Japanese diaspora
The Japanese diaspora, and its individual members known as , are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants that reside in a foreign country...

 communities elsewhere in the world, these Britons do not conventionally parse their communities in generational terms as Issei, Nisei, or Sansei.

Issei


The first generation of immigrants, born in Japan before moving to Canada or the United States, is called Issei (一世). In the 1930s, the term Issei came into common use, replacing the term "immigrant" (ijusha). This new term illustrated a changed way of looking at themselves. The term Issei represented the idea of beginning, a psychological transformation relating to being settled, having a distinctive community, and the idea of belonging to the new country.

Issei settled in close ethnic communities, and therefore did not learn English. They endured great economic and social losses during the early years of World War II, and they were not able to rebuild their lost businesses and savings. The external circumstances tended to reinforce the pattern of Issei being predominantly friends with other Issei.

Unlike their children, the tend to rely primarily on Japanese language media (newspapers, television, movies), and in some senses, they tend to think of themselves as more Japanese than Canadian or American.
Issei women

Issei women's lives were somewhat similar, despite differences in context, because they were structured within interlocking webs of patriarchal relationships, and that consistent subordination was experienced both as oppressive and as a source of happiness. The Issei women lived lives of transition which were affected by three common factors: the dominant ideology of late Meiji Japan, which advanced the economic objectives of the Japanese state; the patriarchal traditions of the agricultural village, which arose partly as a form of adjustment to national objectives and the adjustment to changes imposed by modernization; and the constraints which arose within a Canadian or American society dominated by racist ideology. Substantive evidence of the working lives of Issei women is very difficult to find, partly for lack of data and partly because the data that do exist are influenced by their implicit ideological definition of women.

Within the framework of environmental contradictions, the narratives of these women revealed a surprisingly shared sense of inevitability, a perception that the events of life are beyond the control of the individual, which accounts for the consistency in the way in which Issei women, different and individual in many ways, seem to have structured their emotions -- and this quality of emotional control was passed to their Nisei children.
Aging

The kanreki (還暦), a traditional, pre-modern Japanese rite of passage
Rite of passage
A rite of passage is a ritual event that marks a person's progress from one status to another. It is a universal phenomenon which can show anthropologists what social hierarchies, values and beliefs are important in specific cultures....

 to old age at 60, was sometimes celebrated by the Issei and is now being celebrated by increasing numbers of Nisei. Rituals are enactments of shared meanings, norms, and values; and this Japanese rite of passage highlights a collective response among the Nisei to the conventional dilemmas of growing older.

History


The experience of emigrants is inevitably affected by a range of factors directly related to the Japanese society they left behind. As immigrants, the conflicts between the old country and the new played out in unique ways for each individual, and yet common elements do begin to appear in the history of the Japanese Canadian and Japanese American communities.

Emigrants from Japan


Japan was a closed country for more than two centuries, 1636 to 1853, since military rulers from the Tokugawa
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

 family wanted to keep foreigners away from Japanese society. The only exceptions were Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 and some Dutch people, but even they were discouraged from associating with Japanese citizen
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

s. Also, it was strictly prohibited by law for ordinary Japanese citizens to go abroad. Change came around the early 19th century when the visit of an American fleet commanded by Commodore Perry caused the new Japanese government to replace the Tokugawa system of economics and politics during the Meiji era in order to open its door to trade and contact with the outside world.

After 1866, the new Japanese government decided to send students and laborers to the U.S. in order to bring back the knowledge and experience necessary for the nation to grow strong.

After 1884, emigration of working classes from Japan is permitted; and the first issei begin to arrive in North and South America soon after. For example, in 1890, only 25 Issei live in Oregon. By 1891, 1,000 Japanese live in Oregon. In 1900, 2,051 Japanese have come to live in Oregon. By 1915, Japanese men with savings of $800 are considered eligible to summon wives from Japan.

Immigrants in America


Few Japanese workers came to North America intending to become immigrants. Initially, most of them came with vague plans for gaining new experiences and for making some money before returning to homes in Japan. This group of workers was overwhelmingly male. Many Issei arrived as laborers. They worked in employment sectors such as agriculture, mining, and railroad construction.

The Issei were born in Japan, and their cultural perspective was primarily Japanese; but they were in America by choice. Despite a certain nostalgia for the old country, they had created homes in a country far from Japan. If they had not been prohibited from becoming citizens, many would have become citizens of the United States.

In 1913, California's Alien Land Law prohibited non-citizens from owning land in the state. This included the Issei, Japanese residents born in Japan, but not their children, the Nisei, who were born in United States or Hawaii, and who therefore were American citizens by birth. Many of the Issei responded to the law by transferring title to their land to their Nisei children.

Americans' first impression of Issei


Americans generally viewed the Issei as a crude, ill-educated lot. Possible reasons for this may be the fact that most Japanese were forced to work in menial jobs in the U.S., such as farming. Since there were many immigrants working in the U.S., Americans were relatively predisposed to have a negative view toward the immigrants. In fact, most of the Issei were well-educated. Most of them were better educated than the general Japanese public, and also compared with the average American population back then. Sixty percent of them actually completed middle school, and 21 percent were high school graduates.

Whether Christian, Buddhists, or nonbelievers, the Issei almost never caused trouble in the civil authority. The arrest rate for the Issei from 1902 to the 1960s was relatively lower than for any other major ethnic group in California. The only exceptions were that some young Issei committed crimes relating to gambling and prostitution, which stemmed from different cultural morals in Japan.

Since Buddhist social morals were deeply ingrained, the Issei tended to refrain from antisocial behavior. Also, they were concerned about the Japanese government, that the national image should not be sullied by misbehavior in the U.S.

Racial segregation and immigration law



The post-1900 cause to renew the Chinese Exclusion Act
Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)
The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by Chester A. Arthur on May 8, 1882, following revisions made in 1880 to the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. Those revisions allowed the U.S. to suspend immigration, and Congress subsequently acted quickly to implement the suspension of...

 became generalized protests against all Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 immigrants, including the Issei. Since many Chinese immigrants left the U.S., hostility fell on the Issei. American labor organizations took an initiative in spreading Anti-Japanese sentiment
Anti-Japanese sentiment
Anti-Japanese sentiment involves hatred, grievance, distrust, dehumanization, intimidation, fear, hostility, and/or general dislike of the Japanese people and Japanese diaspora as ethnic or national group, Japan, Japanese culture, and/or anything Japanese. Sometimes the terms Japanophobia and...

. White American
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

s wanted to exclude them since they did not want any Asians to take their jobs away. As a result, they formed the Asiatic Exclusion League
Asiatic Exclusion League
The Asiatic Exclusion League, often abbreviated AEL, was a racist organization formed in the early twentieth century in the United States and Canada that aimed to prevent immigration of people of East Asian origin.-United States:...

 that viewed Japanese and Chinese as a threat of American workers. The protest of the league involved picketing and beatings of the Issei. In October 1906, amid this anti-Japanese milieu, the San Francisco School Board, carrying out a campaign promise of the mayor, ordered all Japanese and Korean pupils to join the Chinese students at a segregated
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 school. The Issei were displeased with the situation and some reported to Japanese newspapers. This caused the Japanese government to protest against the former President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, and as a result, they signed the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907. This agreement led the period of settling and family building to come.

By 1911, almost half of the Japanese immigrants were women who landed in the U.S. to reunite with their husbands. After the Gentleman's agreement, a number of Nisei, the second-generation Japanese, were born in California. Yet, it did not stop some white Americans from segregating Japanese immigrants. The Issei were a role model of American citizens by being hardworking, law-abiding, devoted to family and the community. However, some Americans did not want to admit the virtues of the Issei.

The Immigration Act of 1924
Immigration Act of 1924
The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act , was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already...

 represented the Issei's failed struggle against the segregation. The experiences of the Issei extend from well before the period before July 1, 1924, when the Japanese Exclusion Act came into effect.

The Issei, however, were very good at enhancing rice farming on "unusable" land. Japanese Californian farmers made rice a major crop of the state. The largest Issei community settled around Vacaville, California
Vacaville, California
Vacaville, California is a city located in the northeastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area in Solano County. The city is nearly half way between Sacramento and San Francisco on I-80. It sits approximately from Sacramento, and from San Francisco...

, near San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

.

Internment


When the Canadian and American governments interned West Coast Japanese in 1942, neither distinguished between those who were citizens (Nisei) and their non-citizen parents (Issei). When the apology and redress for injustices were enacted by the American Congress and the Canadian Parliament in 1988, most of the Issei were dead, or too old for it to make any significant difference in lives that had been disrupted.

Notable individuals


The number of issei who have earned some degree of public recognition has continued to increase over time; but the quiet lives of those whose names are known only to family and friends are no less important in understanding the broader narrative of the nikkei. Although the names highlighted here are over-represented by issei from North America, the Latin American member countries of the Pan American Nikkei Association
Pan American Nikkei Association
The Pan American Nikkei Association, the English-language name of the Asociación Panamericana Nikkei, is a multi-national, non-governmental organization with membership from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, United States.-History:In 1981, Mexican...

 (PANA) include Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

, in addition to the English-speaking United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.
  • Kan'ichi Asakawa
    Kan'ichi Asakawa
    was a Japanese academic, author, historian, librarian, curator and peace advocate. Asakawa was Japanese by birth and citizenship, but he lived the major portion of his life in the United States.-Early life:...

     (1873 – 1948), academic, author, peace advocate, historian and librarian
  • Miki Gorman
    Miki Gorman
    Miki Suwa Gorman was one of America's foremost women's marathoners during the mid 1970s. Gorman is the only woman to win both the Boston and New York City marathons twice, and one of only two woman runners to win both marathons in the same year.-Biography:Gorman, who grew up in Japan's Fukushima...

     (1935 - ), a two-time winner of both the Boston and New York marathons
  • Midori Gotō
    Midori Goto
    is a Japanese American violinist. She made her debut at the age of 11 in a last-minute change of programming during a concert highlighting young performers by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. When she was 21, she formed the philanthropic group Midori and Friends to help bring music to...

     (1971 - ), a violinist and recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize
    Avery Fisher Prize
    The Avery Fisher Prize is an award given to American musicians for outstanding achievement in classical music. Founded by philanthropist Avery Fisher in 1974, it is regarded as one of the most significant awards for American instrumentalists. The award is decided by members of the Avery Fisher...

  • Makoto Hagiwara
    Makoto Hagiwara
    Baron was a Japanese American immigrant and landscape designer responsible for the creating and maintaining the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California from 1895 until his death in 1925...

     (?-1925), a landscape designer often credited with having invented the fortune cookie
  • Sessue Hayakawa
    Sessue Hayakawa
    was a Japanese and American Issei actor who starred in American, Japanese, French, German, and British films. Hayakawa was the first and one of the few Asian actors to find stardom in the United States as well as Europe. Between the mid-1910s and the late 1920s, he was as well known as actors...

     (1889–1973), an Academy Award-nominated actor
  • Mazie Hirono
    Mazie Hirono
    is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 2007. She is a member of the Democratic Party.She was the second Asian immigrant elected lieutenant governor of a state of the United States. She ran against Linda Lingle for governor of Hawaii in 2002, one of the few gubernatorial races in United...

     (1947 – ), an American politician
  • Rena Inoue
    Rena Inoue
    is an American pair skater. With partner John Baldwin, she is the 2004 and 2006 U.S. National Champion. Inoue previously competed for Japan as both a single skater and pair skater. Inoue and Baldwin are the first skaters to perform a throw triple axel in competition.-Personal life:Rena Inoue was...

     (1976- ), a two-time U.S. National Champion pair skater
  • Dan Inouye
    Daniel Inouye
    Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history. Inouye is the chairman of the United States Senate...

     (1924- ), United States Senator for Hawaii
  • Shin Koyamada
    Shin Koyamada
    is a film actor, producer, philanthropist and martial artist.Koyamada co-starred as “Nobutada” opposite Tom Cruise in the Warner Bros. action epic film The Last Samurai , with a worldwide box office of $456 million. Koyamada also starred in the action original movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior...

     (1982 - ), a Hollywood film actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and US martial arts champion
  • Fujitaro Kubota
    Fujitaro Kubota
    Fujitaro Kubota was a Japanese born, American gardener and philanthropist.Kubota was among the Issei emigrants from Japan who made new lives for themselves in the United States. When he first arrived, he worked on the railroad. By 1922, he was able to start his own gardening business in Seattle...

     (1879 – 1973), an American gardener and philanthropist
  • Yoko Ono Lennon
    Yoko Ono
    is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

     (1933 – ) artist and musician.
  • George Masa
    George Masa
    George Masa , born Masahara Izuka, in Osaka, Japan, was a businessman and professional large format photographer.-Creating a new life in America:Masa arrived in the United States in 1901....

     (1881–1933), activist in creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North...

  • Hikaru Nakamura
    Hikaru Nakamura
    Hikaru Nakamura is an American chess Grandmaster . He has been ranked among the top six players in the world by FIDE....

     (1987 - ), an American chess Grandmaster and two time United States Chess Champion.
  • Yoichiro Nambu
    Yoichiro Nambu
    is a Japanese-born American physicist, currently a professor at the University of Chicago. Known for his contributions to the field of theoretical physics, he was awarded a one-half share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008 for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in...

     (1921 - ), a physicist and 2008 Nobel Laureate
  • Masi Oka
    Masi Oka
    Masayori "Masi" Oka is a Japanese-American actor and digital effects artist.He has performed in numerous feature films and TV series, most prominently as Hiro Nakamura in the NBC TV series Heroes from 2006 until its cancellation in May 2010. He resides in Los Angeles, California.-Early life:Oka...

     (1974 – ), an Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominated American actor
  • George Shima
    George Shima
    George Shima was a Japanese American businessman in California who became the first Japanese American millionaire. At one point, he produced about 85% of the state's potato crop, which earned him the nickname "The Potato King"....

     (1864–1926), the first Japanese American millionaire.
  • Jokichi Takamine
    Jokichi Takamine
    was a Japanese chemist.-Early life and education:Takamine was born in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, in November 1854. His father was a doctor; his mother a member of a family of sake brewers. He spent his childhood in Kanazawa, capital of present-day Ishikawa Prefecture in central Honshū, and was...

     (1854 – 1922), a Japanese chemist and samurai
  • Takuji Yamashita
    Takuji Yamashita
    Takuji Yamashita , born in Yawatahama on Ehime, Shikoku, Japan, was a civil-rights campaigner. In spite of social and legal barriers, he directly challenged three major barriers against Asians in the United States: citizenship, joining a profession, and owning land.-Biography:Yamashita emigrated to...

     (1874–1959), an early civil-rights campaigner

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