Discover Nikkei

History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times

Aug. 18, 2021 - March 20, 2024

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.

Stories from this series

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, …

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 …

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, …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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Author in This Series

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