History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times

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.

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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.

migration en ja

Chapter 11 (Part 2) Picture-Bride Marriages on the Rise

Read Chapter 11 (Part 1) >>


In the column “The Rise and Fall of Main Street” (From the Jan. 1, 1939 issue), which I introduced in Chapter 11 - Part 1, Akatonbo Nakamura describes the sharp increase of newborns, based on the number of Japanese reported by Seattle Teikoku (Imperial) Consulate General of Japan within its boundary.

“After 1910, a period of about ten years was the golden era for midwives, with the number of newborns each month continually growing to a large number. The statistics show that there were 267 newborns in 1910 …

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migration en ja

Chapter 11 (Part 1) Picture-Bride Marriages on the Rise

The last chapter reviewed the history of The North American Times. In this chapter, I will introduce articles from 1918 to about 1920 on marriage through picture brides which peaked around 1910.

Beginning about 1900, the anti-Japanese movement in America began to get intense. In response, the Japanese government concluded the Gentlemen’s Agreement with the U.S. in 1908. This agreement imposed restrictions on Japanese immigration to America. Since it also made it difficult for Japanese workers in America to return temporarily to Japan, the number of “picture brides” — those that got married through the exchange of pictures without …

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media en ja

Chapter 10 (Part 5) History of the North American Times – World War II and the Last Issue

In the last part, I talked about Sumiyoshi Arima’s articles in The North American Times written as Chairperson of the Japanese Association and a newspaper reporter. In this part, I would like to introduce some articles that were published at the beginning of World War II and the last issue of The North American Times.


The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 shook the Japanese community in Seattle. By that time, Sumio Arima, Sumiyoshi’s younger brother, had taken over the Managing Editor role after Sumiyoshi left Seattle. On the day of the …

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community en ja

Chapter 10 (Part 4) History of the North American Times – Sumiyoshi Arima, Chairman of the Japanese Association and Journalist

The last part shared articles by a female employee of the North American Times, the 5000th anniversary issue and the increase of the subscription fee. This part features articles of Sumiyoshi Arima as Chairman of the Japanese Association and a newspaper reporter.


After Sumikiyo Arima retired, his eldest son, Sumiyoshi Arima, took over the position of president and publisher of The North American Times. He also became chairman of the Nihonjinkai (Japanese Association) in 1932; staying active in the Seattle Japanese community. 

On March 3, 1938, Sumiyoshi Arima was re-elected as …

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community en ja

Chapter 10 (Part 3) History of The North American Times: Voices of a Female Employee and the 5000th Anniversary Issue

Previously, I introduced the contributors to the North American Times and its employees. This part shares articles by its female employee, the 5000th anniversary issue, and the increase of subscription fee.


This is an article by a female editor, Shikako Takatani, who worked as a corresponding writer in Montana.

Newspapers, Reporters, Readers, and Contributors” (From Mar. 29, 1918 issue)

“I have something to ask you all, while encouraging efforts of the newspaper publisher. Even if the newspaper owner has a contributory spirit, the machine cannot run without oil. No matter how priestly a …

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communities community immigrants Issei newspaper North American Times picture brides Seattle World War II