Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

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


Episode 207 – Across the Sea, Part 3

1 Comment

  1. Bradley Nixon

    Another wonderful series! I’m curious as to what you think about the “Niihau Incident” ( and if you think it had any influence in the internment decision.

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