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Chapter 10 (Part 2) History of The North American Times: Expanding Circle of Contributors and the Employees

“The list of The North American Times employees”  (North American Times, Jan 1, 1918)

In the last part, I wrote about how The North American Times was launched, and in this part, I will introduce articles about the expanding circle of contributors and those who worked at The North American Times.


Even after the Arima family took over the North American Times, the founding members and former editors stayed involved in the publishing of the paper. Also, it seems that even after editorial staff left, many of them remained writing for the paper, from different locations.

“The North American Times Credit List” (From the Jan 1, 1918, and Jan 1, 1919 issues)

In the New Year’s issues of 1918 and 1919, the names of employees and contributors are listed, as in the image below. Looking at this list, the North American Times had over 20 employees in Seattle, over ten writers in Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, etc., and several writers in Japan. It appears that president Sumikiyo Arima was in Tokyo in 1919. He may have started shifting his home base to Japan as Sumiyoshi was taking over his work.

It is interesting that Shin Nippon’s founder Ototaka Yamaoka and its former editor Gogai Nakajima are both listed as “Company Friend.” Nakajima was contributing many articles to the North American Times around that time. You can also find the names of former chief editors Nashimura Hatsugano as company friend, and Shiro Fujioka as Los Angeles correspondent. 

The List of The North American Times Employees. Click to enlarge. Created by the author. (Source: New Year’s issues of the North American Times in 1918 and 1919.)  

Please let me introduce some articles about Hatsugano and Fujioka after they left the North American Times’s Seattle office.

Mr. Hatsugano Returns” (From the Sep. 9, 1918 issue)

“Mr. Hatsugano, who went to the Alaska Oak Cannery, came back home yesterday, full of ideas of writing his own poetry.”

Commentary by Nashimura Hatsugano (North American Times, April 19, 1919)

In response to the above article, Hatsugano himself wrote an article in the April 19, 1919 issue. He wrote:

“Since the North American Times wrote that I was thinking of poetry, my friend teased me and said, ‘Were you thinking of only one poem?’ Then I started my speech. He said ‘Ha’ and just left.”

Though this is just my personal interpretation, I would imagine that “the piece of poetry” Hatsugano wrote for the same issue was about how troubled his mind was at the time, by the fear of Alaska’s rough sea with some seagulls laughing at him, having no room for ideas for writing good poems. The friend who teased him could have been Gogai Nakajima. In their interaction, I can see a continuing writing battle between the two who so fiercely argued against each other on the paper back when The North American Times was founded.

“Hatsugano’s Return” (From the Oct. 28, 1919 issue)

“Nashimura Hatsugano, who went to Alaska, came back to Seattle yesterday morning. He says he caught so much salmon that he found a school of salmon at the end of this season.”

It seems that Hatsugano was enjoying salmon fishing every summer in Alaska.

“Shiro Fujioka’s Inauguration” (From the Feb. 5, 1918 issue) 

Shiro Fujioka “became the secretary of the Japanese California Agricultural Co-op after resigning as General Secretary of the Los Angeles Japanese Association.” He moved to California to start his agricultural business. But he was still working for the North American Times by contributing articles.

In an article “Japanese Exclusion Immigration Bill,” published on March 29, 1939, Fujioka talks about his past.

“At that time (around 1913), after eight years of working for the North American Times, I set my goal to be successful in the agriculture field and moved to Yakima. However, I lost my business there and returned to Seattle in one year. It felt shameful. Mr. Furuya and Mr. Matsumi felt sorry for me and offered support for me to move to California. I accepted their favor and left for California the next day.”

There is an article about Gogai Nakajima in the 1918 New Year issue.

Gogai Nakajima, “Rolling introduction to People in Seattle” (North American Times, Jan. 1, 1918 issue)

“Rolling introduction to People in Seattle” (From the Jan. 1, 1918 issue) 

“As a member of the North American Japanese Association, he seems to have 24 skills including his eight mouths, eight hands, and his pencils…. As a father of three son and one daughter, he has an ideal family. His Home Magazine proves that he is a great family guy with good housekeeping skills, too.”

It can be said that Gogai Nakajima was a great writer, while he was also a person who cherished his family at the same time.


Many articles in the North American Times detail the movement of employees and the situations of their families. It must have been a caring company that values its employees.

For example, the January 22 and 28, and February 1 and 13 issues in 1918 contain articles about the departure of Suetaro Hamano. He resigned after working for three years, because he moved to New York to continue his relatives’ business. A farewell party was held with more than 20 employees. It was farewell for Shuichiro Hirai as well. Hirai was an advertising manager. When Hamano departed on the transcontinental railroad, “a large number of people were seeing him off at the station. He arrived safely in New York a few days later.”

According to an article on January 1, 1938, by Ryozo Azuma, Hamano later became an executive of South Manchuria Railway, assigned to work for the company’s Economic Research Bureau. He was sent to Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War. There, he was active in the position of preparing for assembling the postwar economy.

There is an article about Seiji Nagato joining the company in the February 8, 1918, issue. He moved from Shin Sekai (New World), which was a newspaper in San Francisco. According to Ryozo Azuma’s article in 1938, Nagato later became an editor of Tokyo Asahi (now Asahi Shimbun).

“Kinoshita’s Wedding” (From the May 6, 1918 issue) and “Nakagawa Welcoming his Wife” (From Jul. 26, 1918 issue)

There are articles about the marriages of Toshi Kinoshita and Oka Nakagawa. Their wives moved to the United States to marry. My guess is that both were picture brides. Regarding Nakagawa, there is also an article about his son’s birth in the May 17, 1919, issue.

Staff Picnic” (From the Jul. 29, 1918 issue)

“On Sunday, the Seattle staff had a picnic retreat at Pleasant Beach (Bainbridge Island). We all had a good time playing in the mountains and picking up shellfish on the beach. Mr. Kitayama and Mr. Kimura have houses there and welcomed us. The party was grateful. We went back to Seattle on a small steamship leaving there at 7:00 p.m.”

Reading the article, I can imagine all the employees enjoying the trip together.

“Seattle Friends in Hankou (China)” (From the Jul. 21, 1919 issue)

“Friends of Seattle gathered in Hankou, six thousand miles away from Seattle. People who gathered there were Sadajiro Tamura (listed in the credits of the 1918 New Year issue), who was promoted to work at the embassy in Beijing, Isoji Ebisu of Yusen, Toyotaro Namura of Sumitomo Bank (former manager of Sumitomo Bank Seattle branch), Koushichi Sakai of Mogi Shokai, Asaro Hiyoshi of Mitsubishi Shoji, and our former employee Shuichiro Hirai. The world is large, but small at the same time.”

According to an article posted by Azuma Ryozo in 1938, Sadajiro Tamura was the chief editor of the Sunday edition of North American Times, while studying at the University of Washington around 1914. He later passed the diplomatic examination and became the Consul General.

The people who gathered in Hankou, once lived in Seattle, and worked hard at the growing Japanese Community in the early 20th century. By 1919, each of them had obtained important roles in Japanese government office and corporations in China but continued their friendship far from Seattle. Companies such as Nippon Yusen (NYK Shipping), Sumitomo Bank and Mitsubishi Shoji were advertisers in North American Times.

In the next part, I will introduce some articles contributed by the company’s female employees and write about the 5000th commemorative issue and increase in subscription fees.


Jushiro Kato, Zaibei doho hattenshi (History of Brotherhood in the United States), Hakubunsha, 1908.

Zaibei nihonnjinkai jiseki hozonbu ed., Zaibei nihonjin shi (History of the Japanese in the US), Zaibei Nihonjin kai, 1940.

Sumisato Arima, Shiatoru nikkan hojishi no 100-nen (100 Years of Daily Japanese Newspapers in Seattle), Tsukiji Shokan, 2005.


*The English version of this series is a collaboration between Discover Nikkei and The North American Post, Seattle’s bilingual community newspaper. This article was originally publishd on December 31, 2021 in The North American Post and is modified for Discover Nikkei.


© 2022 Ikuo Shinmasu

Japanese language newspapers newspapers Seattle The North American Times (Seattle) (newspaper) United States Washington
About this series

This series explores the history of pre-war Seattle Nikkei immigrants by researching old articles from the online archives of The North American Times, a joint project between the Hokubei Hochi [North American Post] Foundation and the University of Washington (UW) Suzzallo Library.

*The English version of this series is a collaboration between Discover Nikkei and The North American Post, Seattle’s bilingual community newspaper.

Read from Chapter 1 >>

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The North American Times

The newspaper was first printed in Seattle on September 1, 1902, by publisher Kiyoshi Kumamoto from Kagoshima, Kyushu. At its peak, it had correspondents in Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Spokane, Vancouver, and Tokyo, with a daily circulation of about 9,000 copies. Following the start of World War II, Sumio Arima, the publisher at the time, was arrested by the FBI. The paper was discontinued on March 14, 1942, when the incarceration of Japanese American families began. After the war, the North American Times was revived as The North American Post.

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About the Author

Ikuo Shinmasu is from Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. In 1974, he started working at Teikoku Sanso Ltd (currently AIR LIQUIDE Japan GK) in Kobe and retired in 2015. Later, he studied history at Nihon University Distance Learning Division and researched his grandfather who migrated to Seattle. He shared a part of his thesis about his grandfather through the series, “Yoemon Shinmasu – My Grandfather’s Life in Seattle,” in the North American Post and Discover Nikkei in both English and Japanese. He presently lives in the city of Zushi, Kanagawa, with his wife and eldest son. 

Updated August 2021

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