Japanese American National Museum Magazine

These articles were originally published in the print member's magazine of the Japanese American National Museum.

sports en

More Than A Game – Sport in the Japanese American Community, 1885 to Present - Part 1

Sport has played a major role in the life of Japanese American communities from the first establishment of those communities in the late nineteenth century to the present. Over time, that role has changed. For the immigrant and first American-born generations, participation in sports was seen as a step towards “Americanization,” while at the same time it served to cement ties within the community.

Although outstanding Japanese American athletes have met many discriminatory barriers, many, when given the opportunity, have managed to reach the highest levels of their sports and their exploits have been eagerly followed by the community. And …


culture en

Master Artisans of San Jose: The Nishiura Brothers

If you’ve ever visited San Jose’s Japantown, odds are you’ve stepped in a building constructed by the Nishiura brothers. Born in Nara prefecture and raised in the shadow of ancient temples, the two brothers, Shinzaburo and Gentaro, learned their carpentry skills from their father Tsurukichi, himself a skilled craftsman. The story of the Nishiura brothers and their superb aesthetic reflects how art is often integrated into our everyday lives, for example, within the buildings where we live, worship, play, and work.

Gentaro, the younger brother, came to the United States from Mie prefecture, arriving in Hawai‘i in 1905. A year …


identity en

Every Branch Has a Personality of Its Own – A Profile of Chiye Tomihiro

Chiye Tomihiro is used to being interviewed. She testified before the Commission of Citizens (CWRIC) in 1981, her memories are in several oral history collections, and she has appeared on TV and in magazine stories. Her grace reflects both her experience and her nature. Poised and at ease, she offers cold drinks to visitors in her lakefront Chicago apartment.

She wastes no time. “I was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1924. The first thing that I mention to people from California is that there were only about a hundred families in Oregon. We were really a minority in our schools. …


war en

I DON’T COMPLAIN – A Profile of Art Morimitsu

The story of Chicagoan Art Morimitsu’s life is the story of a community—the story of Japanese American immigrants whose sons and daughters triumphed over hardships and discrimination to make their way as exemplary Americans. At age 86, Morimitsu knew that his life’s story was the stuff of legend. In a June, 1998 interview his mischievous grin and twinkling eyes indicate the pleasure that it gives him to recall the events of his long life of hard work and service.

Morimitsu’s father was a laborer on a sugar plantation in Hawai‘i, his mother was a picture bride, his uncles farmers in …


culture en

Japanese American Sumo in the Continental United States, 1900-1941 - Part 2

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Japanese American Sumo in the New Era: From Issei to Nisei

The 1924 Immigration Act was an important turning point in the history of Japanese Americans. With the termination of new Japanese immigration and the exodus of many Issei, the population of first generation immigrants decreased rapidly, and the average age of the Nikkei drastically changed. By 1930, the second generation made up more than 50 percent of the entire Japanese American population. While the majority of Nisei were in their early teens or younger, most Issei males were already in their late forties or above. …



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