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.

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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Chapter 9 (Part 2) — Flourishing Japanese Hotel Businesses

Read Chapter 9 (Part 1) >> 


In the midst of such developments, the North American Times published quite a few articles on people complaining about the high prices of hotel rooms and the excessive buying and selling of hotels. At the same time, it published ones praising the development of hotel businesses.

“Domination of Japanese Hotels Could Be Root of Future Trouble” (From the Oct. 16, 1918 issue)

“There are about 250 hotels that are owned by Japanese. From the waterfront to Seventh Avenue, you can find 100-plus hotels, all of which are run by Japanese. …

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Chapter 9 (Part 1) — Flourishing Japanese Hotel Businesses

In the last chapter, I introduced some historical articles about the growth of Japanese barbershop businesses in Seattle beginning in 1917. In this chapter, I discuss the development of Japanese hotel businesses in Seattle in two parts.


As I reported in Chapter 2, the Japanese hotel business in Seattle was started by Manjiro Morita in 1896. Beginning in 1900, the number of hotels run by Japanese continued to grow with the increase in the Seattle population. Eihan Okiyama, chairperson of the Japanese Hotel Industry Union, explained how the Japanese hotel business first flourished. …

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Chapter 8 (Part 2) —Growth and Decline of Japanese Barbershop Business

In Part 1 of Chapter 8 about the growth of Japanese Barbershop businesses, I wrote about the Japanese Barbershop Committee and the increase of the haircut price. In this part, I would like to share some articles about the Seattle general strike and the Nisei who strove to start their own barbershop businesses around 1939.


Seattle General Strike “Relation with the Japanese” (From the Feb. 4, 1919 issue)

In February 1919, in sympathy with the strike of approximately 25,000 shipyard workers in Seattle, more than 100 labor federations spread across Seattle went on general strike. At the time, to …

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Chapter 8 (Part 1)—Growth and Decline of Japanese Barbershop Business

In the last chapter, I wrote about the NYK Seattle shipping route which made a great contribution to the development of Seattle. In this chapter, I’d like to talk about the growth of Japanese barbershop businesses in Seattle from 1918 in two parts by introducing articles about Japanese Barbershop Committee in Seattle and the Nisei who strove to start their own barbershop businesses around 1939. 


The Japanese barbershop business in Seattle experienced a large growth starting in 1910.1 In 1916, Seattle had 76 barbershops run by Japanese. In contrast, there were 325 …

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Chapter 7: Development of Seattle Route

In the last chapter, I introduced some articles on the opening of Seattle Route and Seattle Route and the transcontinental railroad around 1918. This time, I will talk about the development of Seattle Route beginning in 1919.


“Japan-US Ocean Route and European Ocean Route” (From the Mar. 8, 1919 issue)

“In Japan, traveling to Europe and/or the U.S. has become a craze after the (World War I) cease-fire, whether it’s for business or pleasure... There are two routes connecting Yokohama to Paris, namely the Seattle Route and the European Ocean Route (Yokohama – Indian Ocean …

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1900s hotel business Japanese Japanese barbershops North American Times pre-war Seattle Seattle Route