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Historical Notes


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History of Japanese Immigration and prejudice related to the novel Snow Falling on Cedars

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Historical Notes

  1. 1. Snow Falling on Cedars Historical Background
  2. 2. 1901 to 1907 <ul><li>110,000 Japanese immigrated to the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>Many were recruited by American railroad reps who promised three to five times their customary wages. Japan at this point was undergoing social upheaval after a revolution. </li></ul><ul><li>Many originally came intending only to work for awhile and then return. But because so many workers were needed and the pay was good compared to what they could make in Japan, they stayed in the United States. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Immigrants <ul><li>Japanese Railroad Workers </li></ul>
  4. 4. Issei <ul><li>They were Issei -- first generation Japanese Americans. </li></ul>
  5. 5. U.S. Antagonism against Japanese <ul><li>Japanese immigrants constituted only 2% of all immigrants to the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. newspapers reported them as “an invasion”. </li></ul><ul><li>San Francisco mayor proclaimed that, “the Japanese are not the stuff of which American Citizens can be made.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. continued <ul><li>Sacramento Bee warned that “the Japs . . .will increase like rats” if allowed to settle down. </li></ul><ul><li>The Asiatic Exclusion League agitated for legislation to halt all Japanese immigration. </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians ran for office on anti-Japanese platforms. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1923, the state of Oregon prohibited Issei from legally buying land. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1924, Congress passed the National Origins Act, which banned all immigration from Japan. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Pearl Harbor: 1941 <ul><li>Hostility towards Japanese becomes paranoia, and paranoia becomes law. </li></ul><ul><li>Executive Order 9066 </li></ul><ul><li>All people of Japanese ancestry were ordered to evacuate--in days. 110,000 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Executive Order 9066
  9. 9. Deportation <ul><li>Japanese Americans were deported from their homes to camps such as Tule Lake and Manzanar, where they lived for the duration of the war. </li></ul><ul><li>People of Italian ancestry? </li></ul><ul><li>People of German ancestry? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sent to camps
  11. 11. Today: <ul><li>Recent declassified documents reveal that the Japanese population was never considered a serious threat to American security. In all of WWII, no person of Japanese descent in the United States, Alaska, or Hawaii, was every charged with any act of espionage or sabotage. </li></ul><ul><li>1988: The U.S. government formally apologizes to the Japanese citizens who had been deprived of their civil liberties during WWII. </li></ul>