Japanese Culture: A Review of Japanese History, Population, Festivals, Food, and Family Life. By: Colton Brown-Holidays David Olson-Family Life Jordan Staples-History Kaitlyn Karcher-Food MihailRoata-Population
Japanese History in the Northwest
First Japanese Immigrants came in the Northwest in the 1880’s.
Generally, people came to work on the railroads. These railroads included: Great Northern, NorthernPacific, and the Oregon Short Line.
By 1907, Japanese workers totaled 40 percent of the railroad’s workforce.
Aside from the railroads, Japanese immigrants came to start restaurants, rooming houses, and immigration service companies.
Mercier, L. (n.d.). Historical overview. Retrieved from http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/crbeha/ja/ja.htm
Japanese History in the Northwest After the railroad boom, many Japanese immigrants began starting farming careers. Business opportunities for Japanese immigrants influenced the growth in population for the entire Pacific Northwest. During the early part of the 1900’s, Japanese immigrants accounted for 6% percent of the population in Hood River. However, a negative attitude towards the Japanese forced many immigrants to relocate. The “Gentleman’s Agreement” limited the number of Japanese immigrants that would be allowed into the country. By the 1920’s, Japanese-American families had grown significantly, with most working in the farming and business fields. Mercier, L. (n.d.). Historical overview. Retrieved from http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/crbeha/ja/ja.htm
Japanese History in the Northwest Post World War I activists, such as the Hood River Anti-Alien Association, pressured the state into preventing Japanese immigrants from leasing or owning land. Despite much effort to defend themselves, the Japanese immigrant population in the Pacific Northwest nearly halted when land laws and immigration restrictions were strictly enforced. These laws resulted in a 30 percent decline of Japanese immigrants in the Pacific Northwest. Formation of Japanese-American associations such as the Japanese American Citizen League and the Japanese Association of America. Mercier, L. (n.d.). Historical overview. Retrieved from http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/crbeha/ja/ja.htm
Japanese History in the Northwest On February 19, 1942, 120,000 Japanese Immigrants living on the West Coast were forced into 10 interment camps. Two-thirds of those interned were American citizens. Some Japanese-Americans joined the service, forming the famous 442nd Regimental Combat team, which was made up entirely of Japanese-Americans. As a result of the war and interment camps, Japanese-Americans were forced to start over as they had lost their previous jobs, homes, and savings. During and before the incarcerations, no Japanese-American had been convicted of a crime, espionage, or sabotage. Simply put, this time period marks one of the worst violations of civil liberties in the United States history. The 1952 passage of the Walter-McCarran Act allowed Japanese immigrants to become naturalized citizens of the United States. Mercier, L. (n.d.). Historical overview. Retrieved from http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/crbeha/ja/ja.htm
Japanese History in the Northwest Japanese-Americans faced many communication barriers during the early part of the Century, including: Negative Stereotypes. Many, if not all, were forced to overcome these stereotypes which are harmful to us emotionally as well as physically. Stereotypes were responsible for the interment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans who committed no crimes. The internment of these Japanese-Americans is one of the worst displays of negative stereotypes in US history. Biased Language. This also falls under stereotypes as well. These word barriers separated the growth of the Japanese-Americans in the US by preventing the immigrants of any fair treatment. Discrimination. Japanese-American immigrants definitely felt first had the effects of unfair or inappropriate treatment simply based on their group membership. Mercier, L. (n.d.). Historical overview. Retrieved from http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/crbeha/ja/ja.htm
Japanese Population in the Northwest of the U.S.A.
Japanese Americans Japanese Americans (日系アメリカ人, Nikkei Amerikajin?) are Americans of Japanese heritage, either born in Japan or their descendants. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest group at roughly 1,204,205, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity. In the 2000 census, the largest Japanese American communities were in California with 394,896, Hawaii with 296,674, Washington with 56,210, New York with 45,237, and Illinois with 27,702. Each year, about 7,000 new Japanese immigrants enter United States ports, making up about 4% of immigration from Asia; net migration, however, is significantly lower because some older Japanese Americans have been moving to Japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American
Japanese population in 1990 http://184.108.40.206/atlas.us1/US0054.GIF
Japantowns in North America Japantown is a common name for official Japanese communities in big cities outside Japan. There are currently three recognized Japantowns left in the United States, which are facing issues such as commercialization, reconstruction, and dwindling Japanese populations: Little Osaka, in San Francisco, CA. J Town-a portion of San Jose, CA Little Tokyo, in downtown of Los Angeles, CA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japantown
JAPAN'S INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN LIFE Japan has much more to offer than the business ideas, such as just-in-time manufacturing, that already have altered the habits of many U.S. corporations. There's more to it than team building and sushi. The Japanese are changing Americans' self-image -- and inspiring an urge to learn. What most Americans don't yet see is Japan's deeper effect on their society. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1991/06/17/75150/index.htm
January First New Year: Established in 1948 -Marks the beginning of Japans most important holiday season (Shogatsu).
This celebration consists of food, drink and dancing. This is also a time for huge festivals and the Japanese people to interact and converse.
Mishima, S. (n.d.). Introduction to japanese holidays. Retrieved from http://gojapan.about.com/cs/japaneseholidays/a/holidaycalendar.htm
Constitution Memorial Day Established in 1948 Celebrated because it’s the day Japans postwar constitution took effect. Also a day to reflect on the meaning of democracy for the Japanese people. Mishima, S. (n.d.). Introduction to japanese holidays. Retrieved from http://gojapan.about.com/cs/japaneseholidays/a/holidaycalendar.htm
Respect-for-the-Aged Day Established in 1966 A day to respect the elderly and celebrate long life. Held on the third Monday of September. A Chance for the youth and middle aged people to come together and show respect and for them to help out and care for the elderly. Annual events. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2062.html
The Emperor's Birthday Celebrated according to the current emperors birthday. Currently celebrated on December 23.
Emperor Akihito is the current emperor.
Celebrated by Japanese people across the globe, including the US.
Annual events. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2062.html
To honor the birth of children, celebrated on may 5th
Families creates carp shaped flags to fly during the celebrations. Rites are held at these celebrations to ward off evil spirits and allow for the children to start their lives correctly.
Annual events. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2062.html
Japanese Food: History, Traditions, Fusion, and Family The Japanese have a deep-rooted history in their food. Their cuisine has roots both in Korea and China. In 400 B.C., rice was introduced from Korea-later becoming the staple and essence of Japanese cuisine. Japanese food’s history today is now inseparable from rice. Based around the introduction of Buddhism, meat was banned for consumption around 675 A.D. This habit was changed when the French introduced their cuisine, and meat was offered as delicacy for royalty and guests. Since, meat has been used-but still in great moderation as a side dish. However, the consumption of fish has been in practice since ancient times. Sushi (a now internationally popular dish) was originally fish placed in fermenting rice. This preserved the fish for longer periods of time. http://www.cambridge.org/us/books/kiple/rice.htm
Traditional Foods All of the Japanese diet and lifestyle is based around rice. Rice is typically the main dish of every Japanese meal. Another staple, aside from rice, is noodles. These range from ramen, to udon and soba. At nearly every meal, the Japanese eat a main course of rice, accompanied with miso soup, and a few vegetable side dishes (some of which contain meat). The Japanese believe in using only the freshest foods. They follow the seasons-eating foods only in their natural growing season. A proverb for the preparation of fish based on its freshness goes: “Eat is raw first of all, then grill it, and at last resort, and boil it as a last resort.” Fish is very abundant on the island of Japan, and as a result, much fish is consumed. The freshest of fish is sliced thinly, then placed upon a bed of sticky rice to create Nigri-Sushi. Sashimi is simply a slice of fresh fish and are a common part of a lunch box, or “Bento Box”. http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/network/english/newsletter/things_japanese_29.html
Japanese Fusion in American Cuisine Japanese cuisine and style is extremely unique. It has become extremely popular around the world, especially finding welcome in the US around 1970 when sushi became poplar. The integration of sushi bars and Japanese restaurants encouraged a fusion of American cooking into traditional Japanese cuisine. The sushi roll is a perfect example of this. Rather than the fish being placed atop a bed of rice, it is rolled into a layer of rice and seaweed and chopped into pieces. The “California roll” is the most popular example of American-Japanese food fusion. At one time, Japanese restaurants in America served all things Japanese. Now, they are so numerous, that restaurants often specialize in a certain dish such as soba, or sushi. Popular Japanese cuisine has been Americanized, instant, and widely popular through ramen noodles. The popular brand “Top Ramen” is an instant version of an entirely authentic Japanese food. http://www.bento.com/cam-sushi.html
Family Meal Customs In Japan, food is a culture. The preparation and serving of traditional Japanese food is something highly regarded by the Japanese. At a meal, the family may sit at a traditional low table, sitting on the floor. However, many contemporary families have Westernized tables with chairs. The woman of the house is almost always charge with preparing all of the meals for herself, her children and husband. Considering the amount of time Japanese food takes to prepare, many Japanese wives are “professional housewives”. In Japanese households conversations may be subdued, but expected. Meals can last up to two or three hours, during which the family (and guest if present) will converse with each other about their separate lives.
Communication and Food The Japanese consider their long-held traditions regarding the preparation of food to be one of the most important things to pass from generation to generation. The importance on food and it’s history in Japan bridges the gap between all Japanese people. Relationships are built around food. The young are taught traditional cooking methods by the old, and thus age gaps are bridged through such communication. The long and frequent meals of the Japanese are conducive to close-knit families and well-developed relationships. The time spent preparing and eating the food is also time spent relating to, and conversing with other family members and friends. A visitor to a Japanese home can quickly communicate their respect or lack of respect for their host through their display of eating habits. A simply compliment to the host on the food will easily forge new relationships.
Family Life of the Japanese Culture Influences within the northwest
Traditional Family Customs Typically the father is the head of the household in Japanese culture. This leaves the mother to take care of housework and the children. This family set up is similar to the traditional American standard, but unlike the United States now, Japan continues to follow their traditional standards. This transcends into America, and often within a Japanese-American family, the mother is the stay home figure, while the father is the “provider”. Past the direct family, the Japanese family contains many layers throughout the generations. Many times families are complex, containing “three, four, and conceivably even five generations of a family living together” (contemporary Japan). This leads to a very strong family bond within families, and they have a strong sense of home, and where they came from. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/at_japan_soc/common/all.htm#family http://en.allexperts.com/q/Japanese-Culture-2884/interview-questions.htm
Japanese in America Primogeniture is the term that the Japanese use for their inheritance system. This system follows a traditional standard that the family inheritance is passed from the father, to eldest son. That son then passes the inheritance to their eldest son, and etc. This process may directly relate to the beginning of Japanese immigrants to the United States. As contemporary Japan states: “One explanation for some of the colonization of the United States is that eldest sons were inheriting family farms in Europe, and younger sons were being sent off to settle the "New World." http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/at_japan_soc/common/all.htm#family http://en.allexperts.com/q/Japanese-Culture-2884/interview-questions.htm
Leadership The leadership role is demonstrated greatly within the Japanese culture. The father is the leader. This roll is assigned to him through traditional culture and is greatly respected. The leader in the Japanese family is looked to as the “bread winner”. This roll also leads to a strong roll within the communication in the family. The father is looked to for approval and guidance. The successful Japanese family dynamic is created through strong leadership from the father. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/at_japan_soc/common/all.htm#family http://en.allexperts.com/q/Japanese-Culture-2884/interview-questions.htm
Territory “The study of how people use space and objects to communicate occupancy or ownership of space is termed territoriality” This is demonstrated through the process that the Japanese have of primogeniture. This leads to a territorial display with the oldest male, and a lack of territory displayed with the younger males. They feel a need to have their own territory, thus leading to the migration to the U.S. In the United States they can break that standard and build their own life. This gives them a sense of their own territory, and leads to a happy life. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/at_japan_soc/common/all.htm#family http://en.allexperts.com/q/Japanese-Culture-2884/interview-questions.htm
Questions for Thought and Discussion 1.What are you pre-concieved thoughts about the Japanese influences, and how do you think these thoughts effect attitudes towards their culture? 2. Which are the largest Japanese populated regions in the U. S.? 3. Have the effects of Japanese interment camps and discrimination in America affected stereotypes of the Asian culture? 4. As a result of better understanding the Japanese culture, do you feel you are able to better communicate and relate to people of Japanese heritage? 5. What percent of Japanese Americans celebrate traditional Japanese holidays?