Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/author/ikuo-shinmasu/

Ikuo Shinmasu

@IkuoShinmasu

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


Stories from This Author

Thumbnail for Chapter 20 (Part 2)—The Japanese Association, a Support for Japanese American Community
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 20 (Part 2)—The Japanese Association, a Support for Japanese American Community

May 21, 2024 • Ikuo Shinmasu

Read Part 1 >> Abolition of the distribution of the certification guarantee fee The funding source of the Japanese Association (Nihonjinkai) consisted of membership fees and the distribution of the fee of certification guarantee from the consulate. The North American Japanese Association (Hokubei Nihonjinkai) was established inside the Seattle consulate in 1913 to oversee the distribution of funds to each individual Japanese association. However, the system disbanded in 1918, and the Communication Committee of North American Japanese (Hokubei Renraku Nikkai, …

Thumbnail for Chapter 20 (Part 1)—The Japanese Association, a Support for Japanese American Community
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 20 (Part 1)—The Japanese Association, a Support for Japanese American Community

May 20, 2024 • Ikuo Shinmasu

In the last chapter, I covered the topic of prefectural associations (Kenjinkai). The focus of this chapter is the Japanese American Association (Nihonjinkai) that supported the Japanese American community. The significance and deep connection of the Japanese American Association to the Nikkei community in Seattle is evidenced by the almost daily mentions of Nihonjinkai in The North American Times. I will share some excerpts from those articles here.1 The History of the Japanese Association Genji Mihara, the chair of the …

Thumbnail for Chapter 19 (Part 2)—The Solidarity of the Japanese Brought by Kenjinkai
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 19 (Part 2)—The Solidarity of the Japanese Brought by Kenjinkai

March 20, 2024 • Ikuo Shinmasu

Read Chapter 19 (Part 1) >> Notable Activities and Obituaries of People from Yamaguchi Prefecture 1. Seiichi Okamura from the Agenosho village in the Oshima disctrict “Department Chief of Nissho, Japanese Business Association, Seiichi Okamura Passes Away” (June 28, 1939 issue1) The president of Grand Union Laundry Corporation, Seiichi Okamura, had recovered from a cerebral hemorrhage after having taken some rest and had been working full-time. He, however, fell ill again around March. He had been under treatment at home, …

Thumbnail for Chapter 19 (Part 1) — The Solidarity of the Japanese Brought by Kenjinkai
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 19 (Part 1) — The Solidarity of the Japanese Brought by Kenjinkai

March 19, 2024 • Ikuo Shinmasu

The last chapter shared stories about the prosperity of the Nisei males’ judo. In this chapter, I would like to write about the prefectural associations (Kenjinkai) that played a big role in bringing Japanese residents in Seattle together. To enhance the unity of those from the same prefecture in the Seattle Nikkei community, Hiroshima Kenjinkai was first established in 1901, followed by Tokushima Kenjinkai in 1902, Yamaguchi Kenjinkai in 1903, Ehime Kenjinkai in 1904, Kanagawa Kenjinkai in 1905, and many more …

Thumbnail for Chapter 18 (Part 2) — The Rise of Judo among Nisei
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 18 (Part 2) — The Rise of Judo among Nisei

Jan. 24, 2024 • Ikuo Shinmasu

Read Chapter 18 (Part 1) >> Jim Yoshida’s Judo The book, The Two Worlds of Jim Yoshida, discusses how Jim Yoshida practiced hard at judo training. In the book, Jim was into football first. He practiced judo reluctantly at first with the strong encouragement of his father, Ryunosuke. Later he found it interesting. The article on February 7, 1938 seems to be written around that time. The article said his father, Ryunosuke Yoshida, served a councilor of Tentokukai. In February 1938, …

Thumbnail for Chapter 18 (Part 1) — The Rise of Judo among Nisei
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 18 (Part 1) — The Rise of Judo among Nisei

Jan. 23, 2024 • Ikuo Shinmasu

In my previous chapter, I reported on the Nisei women's tour of Japan. In this chapter, I would like to talk about the prosperity of judo around 1938 and 1939, when many Nisei men were engaged in this sport in Seattle.  Establishment of Judo Dojo According to some literature, the Seattle Dojo was established in February 1908 in the city of Seattle for the training of youth in judo. At the time of its establishment, there were only about 20 members, …

Thumbnail for Chapter 17 (Part 2) — The Nisei Girls’ Japan Delegation Tours
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 17 (Part 2) — The Nisei Girls’ Japan Delegation Tours

Dec. 14, 2023 • Ikuo Shinmasu

Read Chapter 17 (Part 1) >> Touring in Kobe on November 7, 1939 “A Day in Kobe, Taiyo Delegation” by Akira Maeda” (February 5, 1940 issue1) We visited several locations in Kobe city, touring well-known historical sites by bus that were specifically arranged for us. I was surprised to find that Kobe had so many historical sites. At night, we enjoyed a Japanese feast at Enmeitei, which is a restaurant that many would call top-tier in Kobe. After dinner we …

Thumbnail for Chapter 17 (Part 1) — The Nisei Girls’ Japan Delegation Tours
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 17 (Part 1) — The Nisei Girls’ Japan Delegation Tours

Dec. 13, 2023 • Ikuo Shinmasu

In the last chapter, I wrote about the activities of the Kibei Japanese American Citizens League. This chapter will report on the Nisei Girls’ Japan Delegation Tours. These Nisei girls who were born in the United States learned the Japanese language, culture, and customs at Japanese schools and from their parents, but they did not understand Japan very well. To help them experience what Japan was actually like, multiple tour groups were formed around 1939 and 1940. These groups stayed in …

Thumbnail for Chapter 16 (Part 2) — Activities of Kibei Japanese American Citizens League
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 16 (Part 2) — Activities of Kibei Japanese American Citizens League

Nov. 9, 2023 • Ikuo Shinmasu

Read Part 1 >> Activities of the Kibei JACL “Nikkei Cooking Classes” (August 28, 1934 issue) The female department of the Kibei JACL will have Japanese cooking classes at Nikkoro every Thursday starting in September. Some sources state that this female department of the Kibei JACL was formed at the extraordinary general meeting which was held two weeks after the establishment of the Kibei JACL in 1932. “Fall Great Performance Show by Kibei Nikkei” (October 28, 1935 issue) The Kibei …

Thumbnail for Chapter 16 (Part 1) — Activities of Kibei Japanese American Citizens League
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History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times
Chapter 16 (Part 1) — Activities of Kibei Japanese American Citizens League

Nov. 2, 2023 • Ikuo Shinmasu

In the last chapter I wrote about the JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) where Nisei became politically active and in this part I would like to feature the activities of the Kibei JACL which was established by Kibei Nisei. Among Nisei were a group of people called Kibei Nikkei. Kibei Nikkei are the Japanese Americans who moved to Japan in their childhood and grew up there and re-entered the U.S. later in life. Many of them were “dual citizenship holders” who …

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