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Inclusiveness of the first Japanese colony in Paraguay (Spanish)

(Spanish) That was the first Japanese settlement, which was founded by my father. In 1936 to be exact. And so that’s where my siblings and I were born. And it was a beautiful place to be, because it was a Japanese enclave, but then the Paraguayans came to settle there as well, not to be with us, but they established many families and we all got along very well together. And my dad, my father was a very inclusive person, so he would work as a volunteer and as an organizer for some kind of event with the Paraguayans. So he always thought about integration. Even the Japanese schools, for example, they opened to Paraguayans and became Paraguayan schools. So, there was quite interesting integration from the very beginning, and I think that was something that we’ve always carried with us, that there wasn’t any kind of discrimination on their part, or on ours either. Even though there’s some history between us, there was never that open discrimination.


communities immigration Japanese language schools language schools migration

Date: October 7, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Ann Kaneko

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Emilia Yumi Kasamatsu (also known as “Emi”) was born and raised in La Colmena, Paraguay. La Colmena was the first Japanese colony in Paraguay. Her father was a prominent figure in the colony as an organizer and administrator. Emi has fond memories of a strict education that was a mix of Japanese and Paraguayan ideals. Her education provided an understanding of future aspirations and projections of her adult life in the capital of Paraguay. Kasamatsu graduated from the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras with a Bachelor in Literature, and received her postgraduate degree in Gender and Development at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA). She has published a variety of books on the topic of Japanese immigration into Paraguay and the Americas, which are written in the Spanish language and translated into Japanese and English: La presencia japonesa en el Paraguay (1987), La historia de la Asociación Panamericana Nikkei presencia e inmigración japonesas en las Americas (2005) (bilingual editions: Spanish and English); Edited by Akemi Kikumura: New World, New Lives (2002) and Encyclopedia of Japanese Descendants in the Americas (2002) in English and Japanese. Emi Kasamatsu is President of the Centro Social de Beneficencia Japonesa in Paraguay (2006-2008) and the first Vice President of the Asociación Paraguayo Japonesa (2005-2008). She was President of Centro Nikkei Paraguayo (an association of the Nisei in Paraguay) and the 6th Convención Panamericana Nikkei. Kasamatsu was delegate of Paraguay between 1987-2007. She is Vice Director of the Paraguayan Japanese Center for the Development of Human Resources, and is involved with the Academic and Cultural Coordination. (May 23, 2007)

Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Coming to America (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

First work in America (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Company in Tokyo burned down (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Family interrelations between mother and father

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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Steve Kaji
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Steve Kaji

FOB's

Hawaii born Nikkei living in Japan. English Teacher at YMCA.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Going back to Hawaii

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Picture brides and karifufu

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
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Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki

Grandmother's influence on decision to go to Japan

(b.1942) Japanese American ceramist, who has lived in Japan for over 30 years.

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Yukio Takeshita
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Yukio Takeshita

Impression of Japan upon arrival

(b.1935) American born Japanese. Retired businessman.

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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama
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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama

Working at the magazine

(b.1948) Nikkei from Southern California living in Japan.

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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Kibei schoolchildren in Hiroshima, Japan

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Etsuo Hongo
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Etsuo Hongo

The reason he came to the United States (Japanese)

(1949 - 2019) Taiko player. Founded five taiko groups in Southern California

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Roger Shimomura
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Roger Shimomura

Grandfather's arrival in the U.S., experiencing discrimination

(b. 1939) Japanese American painter, printmaker & professor

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Mother's immigration to U.S. as a treaty merchant

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Rose Kutsukake
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Rose Kutsukake

Why her parents came to Canada

(1918-2004) Interned in Slocan during World War II. Active member of the Japanese Canadian community.

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