Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Month: August 2017

Episode 207 – Across the Sea, Part 3

This week, we’re headed south to take a look at Nikkei communities in Brazil and Peru.

Listen to the episode here.


Masterson, Daniel et al. The Japanese in Latin America.

Dresner, Jonathan. Japanese Diasporas: Unsung Pasts, Conflicting Presents, and Uncertain Futures.

An article from NACLA on Nikkeijin and the legacy of Alberto Fujimori.

A Reuters article on Brazilian Nikkeijin.



Children waving Japanese and Brazilian flags at a 2008 celebration of 100 years of Japanese immigration to Brazil.


A Japanese-Brazilian family outside of Sao Paolo.


Japanese immigration companies used posters like this one (which reads “Let’s move to South America with our families”) to encourage people to sign up for immigration companies.


A Japanese-Brazilian run business in Sao Paolo.


Japanese-Brazilian laborers on a coffee plantation. Though not as arduous as sugar harvesting, coffee is not an easy plant to work with.


Japanese-Peruvians were in some cases forcibly interned in the United States during World War II. This baseball team from Crystal Lake is entirely Japanese-Peruvian, excepting one man in the bottom row second from left.


Alberto Fujimori, the first Nikkei president of Peru. Initially quite popular, his corruption and lack of regard for the law led to his impeachment in 2000. He now resides in a Peruvian prison.


Alberto Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, a Peruvian Senator and head of the Popular Force right-wing party.

Episode 206 – Across the Sea, Part 2

This week, we take a closer look at early communities of Nikkeijin — people of Japanese descent — in the United States and Hawaii.

Listen to the episode here.


Asakawa, Gil. Being Japanese-American.

Spicard, Paul. Japanese Americans: The Formation and Transformation of an Ethnic Group

Odo, Franklin. No Sword to Bury.


4thStBusinesses_ca1950s 3x4

San Francisco’s Japantown in the 1930s.


Frenzied and racist attacks on Japanese labor led to the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907. Papers like the Seattle Star were instrumental in drumming up pressure for both the 1907 agreement and the 1924 immigration act.


The bill itself may not have specified the Japanese, but at the time nobody was under any illusions as to who the 1924 Immigration Act targeted.


Japanese workers on a sugarcane plantation, c. 1915. Courtesy of the University of Hawaii.


A Honganji (Jodo Shinshu) temple in Oahu. Note the Japanese-inspired detailing on the roof; that kind of thing was far less common on the continent.


Shashin hanayome (picture bridges) arriving on Angel Island in Los Angeles, 1910. Courtesy of

Episode 205 – Across the Sea, Part 5

This week, we begin a new series on the history of the Japanese diaspora!

Listen to the episode here.


Masterson, Daniel et al. The Japanese in Latin America.

The excellent resources of the Japanese American National Museum.

Dresner, Jonathan. Japanese Diasporas: Unsung Pasts, Conflicting Presents, and Uncertain Futures.



The grave of Otokichi in Singapore; he was never allowed to return to Japan after being blown away in a storm.


Nakahama Manjiro, the castaway who became a samurai — and one of very few to leave Japan during the Edo Period.


Seattle’s Japantown c.1909, in what is now the International District.


Seattle Japanese-American fishermen participating in a public parade.


Japanese immigrants arriving in Victoria, British Columbia.


Japanese laborers on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, c.1900.

Episode 204 – No Peace Without War

This week we tackle the question of Japanese fascism by looking at one of Japan’s foremost fascists, the authoritarian scholar Kita Ikki.

Listen to the episode here.


Maruyama, Masao. Thought and Behavior in Japanese Politics (if you’re interested in the topic this is the one must-read book)

Tansman, Alan. The Culture of Japanese Fascism.

Kita, Ikki. Outline Plan for the Reorganization of Japan.



Kita Ikki as a young man.


Yoshino Sakuzo was the target of a failed political smear campaign by Kita Ikki and the Yuzonsha — a failure indicative of the wider political fortunes of the Yuzonsha organization.


Officers sympathetic to Kita, shown here occupying the Imperial Hotel, were a big part of the 2-26 incident — and as a result of the coup attempt, Kita was arrested and shot.


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