Talk:Japanese American

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Utada Hikaru?[edit]

She is japanese American who is famous in japan. im surprised she isn't here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 18 October 2013 (UTC)


Has the question of the use or non-use of the hyphen in the phrase Japanese-American, Italian-American, etc., been discussed on Wikipedia, and a consensus reached rejecting the hyphen? (Once upon a time, persons belonging to such groups were called "hyphenates".) Michael Hardy 01:35, 19 Nov 2003 (UTC)

From User talk:Jiang archive 1:


I'm puzzled about what you are doing to pages about x-Americans. While in terms of strict grammar a dash should not be there, they always are written with a dash because many such communities do not actually see themselves as Americans but as Anglo-Americans, Irish-Americans, Spanish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc. Indeed Irish-Americans take offence at being written as Irish Americans, as any Italian-Americans I know don't just take offence; they are liable to punch you if you leave the dash out, so important do they view it. They and other communities regard the dash as crucial to highlighting their dual cultural identity. So I think your changes are in all the communities I know about not merely wrong but actually can (however accidentially) cause offence. FearÉIREANN 07:29 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Without the dash, the "Asian" or "Chinese" is used as an adjetive to modify the term "American," and therefore the Chinese American, Asian American, etc. would be considered American. Without the dash, it seems like a Chinese-American is half-Chinese, half-American, which is not the case. (I find that offensive!) Actually, the dash is less frequently used (probably because of these reasons: [1], [2], [3] Try to snoop around on the web and you'll find the dash absent on most semi-official sites. Well, it all comes to which culture you come from. I left the European cultures alone. African American and Japanese American were already that way when I found them. There's a difference between cultural and national identity--the dash emphasizes dual national identity, not cultural. Sorry for not allowing this issue to be discussed before I acted...I brought it up at the Chinese American talk page and got no response after 24 hrs. --Jiang 07:39 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)

--Jiang 02:41, 19 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Here are the first five hits from a google search: [4][5][6][7][8]. The links are overwhelming for leaving out the hyphen. --Jiang 02:45, 19 Nov 2003 (UTC)

New article: Hyphenated American. --Jiang

Largest Japanese community is in New York[edit]

I read about the New York City Metro area (the figure encompassed the Northeastern US) is home to upwards to 100,000 Japanese, the largest number of Japanese American residents over San Francisco and Los Angeles, after all California was the historic hub of Japanese people in the U.S. except Hawaii. The source is the Embassy of Japan consulate building in New York, but they refer to those who are eligible for dual-nationality or nikkeijin the Japanese nationality process law. The large number of Japanese American residents in California, being 3rd or 4th generation raised in the U.S. can't pass as Nikkeijin and therefore cannot be dual nationals under Japanese law. + (talk) 05:52, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Contradiction of another article[edit]

"Japanese Americans are typically members of Protestant Christianity. Only a small minority are also followers of Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and sectarian Shinto."

This claim directly contradicts this from the Religions of Japan article

"Some churches in America take an active missionary role in converting Japanese in Japan, and America, but even in America, 97% of Japanese Americans adhere to Shinto and Buddhism."

These can't BOTH be right. I'm going to place a similar message on that article's talk page. I don't know which view is correct; maybe someone who knows better than me can fix this.

Rhesusmanrhesusman 17:22 UTC 17 April 2005

Maybe because the both claims are true? In Japan, it is not that simply you profess to some religion or not. For example, some may not follow the teaching of Shinto, but celebrate New Yeark in the manner of Shinto. (This is very common case in Japan) The best thing we can do is just not to mention these issues at all. -- Taku 16:35, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)
I don't know. This article's claim looks pretty exclusive. It says only a small minority ALSO follow Buddhism and Shinto. There is a clear implication that most Japanese Americans are NOT following Buddhism or Shinto in addition to Christianity. I know about the phenomenon of Japanese syncretism you mention, but this article's claim does not seem to accommodate that at all. If these claims really can be viewed as simultaneously acceptable, shouldn't they be re-worded at least so they don't look so mutually exclusive?

Rhesusmanrhesusman 17:52 UTC 17 April 2005

As a Japanese-American (Sansei), I was also surprised by the statement in Wikipedia that "Japanese Americans are typically Christians. Only a small minority are also followers of Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and sectarian Shinto." Based on my interactions with Japanese-Americans, most are not Christians. Many would say that they are "not very religious" or are mildly "Buddhist/Shinto," although I do not know the exact percentages. My observations indicate that the statement that "Japanese Americans are typically Christians" is not accurate.

In addition, I question the veracity of the claim that "After Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans are the second largest Asian Christian community." I would think that Korean-Americans would rank higher than Japanese-Americans.

Are these statements based on reputable surveys? If so, what are the sources?

--Nisei-han, 13-July-2005

I would tend to agree with you. Have you read Religions of Japan? It tends to agree more with what you're saying. Rhesusmanrhesusman 16:37 UTC 24 July 2005

I would say they are both wrong. Most Japanese Americans seem to be either non-religious or Christian, with some Buddhists and few Shinto practitioners. There seems to be a slightly higher rate of atheism or non-religiousness in the JA community than in whites, possibly because many of them are in the west coast urban areas, which have those tendencies in general. Christianity does seem to be the most common religion, though, even if it's below %50.

One problem is that Buddhism and Shintoism have looser definitions of being a member than most Christian denominations. Note that you do not have to be practicing Shintoism to be 'Shinto', you can have your name entered into a Shinto shrine and you will be considered one of them, however I don't think most J-As have that done. Either way, I don't think Buddhism, and certainly not Shinto, are major forces in the Japanese American community.

I live in the Portland, OR area, and while I am sure that there are Japanese-American churches, places of worship do not seem to play a central role in defining the community, the way they do for Hispanic, Korean or Hindu immigrants. Most J-A celebrations and festivals I have seen have been at community centers, schools, or commercial areas, and center around cultural rituals like origami, taiko, various traditional arts, martial arts, or films. Religion did not crop up very often.

Fyi, I am a Japanese citizen, and the actual Japanese expatriat community is not very religios either.

In either case, the Korean, Chinese and even Vietnamese Christian communities should vastly outnumber the Japanese Christian community in the U.S. See the table in the [Languages_in_the_United_States] page for some insight as to the various sizes of the communities. Identity0 11:20, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

The current version as of my writing is fairly accurate from my observations, so it seems this discussion was cleared up. Just adding some reinforcement
I'm a 4th gen with familial ties throughout the California region. Religious groups are a large part of the Japanese community. Nisei Week and most obons are staged from religious centers.
There are also fusion beliefs among JAs, rather than strict followers. My dad loosely follows several religions. My family follows Buddhist, Christian and Catholic faiths, with Christianity being the clear majority -- many of them practice traditional Shinto/Buddhist ceremonies (a way of maintaining cultural ties), yet are Christian. Most, however, are not active followers or believers, like myself, but have affiliation to one group. Specifically, my father's side has strong affiliation to a couple temples and a Methodist Church, while my mother's side has strong affiliations to a Japanese catholic school and several temples.
Families who have been here since pre-WWII will tend to have similar religious makeup to my family (a mix of Christians, atheists, and Shinto/Buddhists), where as recent immigrant families will more likely have atheist or shinto backgrounds. 11:30, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

War Service[edit]

I find this sentence odd: Despite the treatment, many Japanese Americans served in World War II, mostly as sentries and intelligence agents in the Pacific war. I was under the impression that all the JA's that were in the Army were sent to Europe? IIRC, the reason they were all sent there was that they were afraid they would be confused with the Japanese Empire troops. And why would they be put into intelligence, when the whole reason for their internment was that they weren't trusted? I have read up on Allied codebreaking in WWII, and they do not mention use of JA's in intelligence work. Mostly, they seem to have used asian people of other races (Korean, Chinese, etc.) or white officers, who had learned the Japanese language.

The sentence was poorly written. It would be accurate to say that "In the Pacific war, they served mostly with military intelligence and as sentries." Then military service in Europe would be mentioned in another sentence. Critic-at-Arms 18:36, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Only partially true, many Japanese served in the Pacific, but in noncombat roles. After the war, many of the intelligence agents became relief agents throughout Japan, providing aid and translation. I think you also might be confusing codebreakers with intelligence agents, who serve in more capacities than just code breaking. The majority of JA soldiers, however, served on the European front.
Internment had many more factors to it than a trust issue. If there was a real trust issue, then Roosevelt wouldn't have forcibly drafted JAs. Also, Hawaii had a sizable Japanese population before the war, many of whom volunteered for service 11:39, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps the captured Japanese soldiers or sailors placed in POW camps may changed alliances, as well those local Japanese from Hawaii whom weren't eligible for wartime internment. The local Japanese community frequently spoke on their patriotism for America are picked as spies whom are familiar with Japanese war mechinations. The 442nd military regiment made up of all Japanese Americans released from internment was fiercely willing to fight for America and proved their loyalty to the U.S. and no wonder they won so many purple hearts (medals of honor).

Also many Japanese in the US are descendants of those persecuted under the Imperial Shogunate (i.e. Christians in various periods of time and former pro-Shogunate officials) due to political opposition and religious grounds may develop a lack of support for the Emperor or what he represented. Maybe ethnic Koreans, Taiwanese and Chinese whose origins from then Japanese ruled territories could been labeled "Japanese" but proven to US army officials they weren't.

Remember, the majority of second generation Japanese in the US felt very American and was reluctant to discuss their wartime epxerience. After the war (the situation until the 1970s), many of them shyed away from anything Japanese and a few denied they are Japanese, but when asked on the subject they went along saying "I'm Chinese, Korean, Filipino, (native) Hawaiian" and even "American Indian" to explain their "Asiatic" features and disguised their evident Japanese roots. + (talk) 16:36, 19 April 2008 (UTC)


Although this isn't about the Japanese American article, it is related...please check out Manzanar. Then, drop by Talk:Manzanar and add your two cents about the "raging" debate going on regarding terminology used in the article. Thank you! Gmatsuda 05:03, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

why move?[edit]

What was the reason for the Japanese to move to the US at all? It is a much smaller community than other Asian Americans, given the size of the population back home. Chinese came because there were droughts and instability, and the railroad seemed steady, Koreans came en masse after the 1950s due to the pressures of war, but what brought the Japanese, what pressure at home? Chris 21:10, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

The first Japanese in the US in the 1880's right after Japan opened its doors to emigration for any of their citizens whom wish to leave the country, they sought wanted opportunity not provided there. Usually the Japanese came as agricultural laborers throughout the West Coast in belief by white farm owners they were "cheap labor" or unable to advance, which those things are disproven by the second generation to sought other employment opportunities. This developed a new racial stereotype of "all" Japanese (and other east Asian groups) "succeeded" faster in socioeconomics alike Irish, Italian and Poles, and the Japanese "model minority" myth on why they advanced more than African-Americans and Latinos (i.e. Mexican-Americans) in the same career field.

The number of Japanese immigrants to the US declined for more alledgedly "inferior" or "docile" non-whites or favorable white Europeans depending on which state or region of the country, as well the Japanese government was concerned on "foreign" sociocultural influences the Japanese immigrants returning to Japan had in a mostly homogeneous country with strong ancient traditions of nationality to excluded Korean and Chinese servants in the country treated inhumanely in the early 20th century. Some Japanese returned home by government pressure by immigration officials in the 1910s and 1920s, and the US Armed forces during WWII encouraged any released from the internment camps to "go home" or "go back to Japan". + (talk) 16:18, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Personality Type[edit]

I think there is a certain Japanese-American personality type. This personality type was hinted at in the title of Bill Hosokawa’s book “The Quiet Americans”. The interesting thing is that this personality of the Japanese-American is different from that of the Japanese themselves. The Japanese in Japan have never experienced being a minority. In fact, they have always been the overwhelming majority on their islands. The Japanese-Americans, by contrast, have had to go through discrimination. The Japanese-American personality starts from the Japanese one 100 years ago. But it has been toughened and hardened by the experience of going through discrimination, and then struggling to make it to the upper reaches of American society and an average income level above that of whites. While friendly enough and kind, Japanese-Americans have a tendency to be hard, tough, stoic, and they can be reluctant to discuss their background with white Americans. But coupled with this hard toughness is a persistent optimism about life. What has resulted is a totally unique personality type: part Japanese, part American, and part hardened core honed by the unfavorable experiences of the past and the bootstrap rise to success. For a white American like myself, it can be difficult to get to know Japanese-Americans – even more difficult than getting to know modern Japanese. Japanese-Americans tend to keep to themselves on certain issues: their background, their Buddhist religion, their culture. Even the Japanese-American Buddhist churches are a unusual. No Buddhist temple in Japan would have pews and hymn books. The Japanese-American personality and culture are a unique phenomenon. Westwind273 05:39, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Dmsakata (talk) 19:17, 11 December 2012 (UTC) I am Japanese American living in Southern California, and I do NOT think there is a certain Japanese American personality. We are not all the same, and are individually unique just like every other people group in the world! I am Japanese American and I am not quiet! Just ask my family, friends, and coworkers.

Japanese American history[edit]

The recent edit by User: to the Japanese_American#History section (which I reverted) appears to be a copy and paste job from the website However, it looks like there's a lot of good information at the website that can be integrated into both the Japanese_American#History section and Japanese American history article. In particular, the history entry on Katsu Gota looks like it might worthy of a wikipedia article (or at least a bio entry). See for some information. Just brought it up in case anyone here has the time and energy to do this. — Myasuda (talk) 04:02, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Controversial edit: the Japanese Cherokee[edit]

In the article there's a reference on a big number of American Indians with Japanese ancestry in California, you find a good number of American Indians (i.e. Cherokee tribal background) live in South Bay, Los Angeles and Central Valley who spoke of their family tree has some east Asian relatives.

There was a small wave of BIA relocatees from Indian reservations during WWII and the 1950s seem to relocated into mainly Black, Asian or Latino sections of urban areas in California, such as Torrance near Los Angeles, home to a large Japanese community but a high number of Cherokee Indians live in that city as well.

A few Asian looking persons are members of Amerindian tribes based in California (i.e. practiced tribal custom rituals in addition to Buddhist or Shintoist religious observances), while some "Cherokee" Indians in the West coast discovered their grandparents hid their Japanese roots and implied "part-(Amer)Indian" to appear more socially acceptable, in part of post-war (WWII) shame of Japanese and east Asian heritage.

I doubt this is valid but I knew state (California) anti-miscegenation laws lacked a barrier to prevented Asians from marrying American Indians. At the time anthropologists thought they are "lost Asiatic" or "Mongolian" peoples, and in the 1860s California state legislature officials attempted but failed to have the Chinese racially put in the "American Indian" category.

The second generation Japanese lacked enough resources to get "picture brides" from Japan could find acceptable or culturally similar mates of other races, but the Cherokees are said to be an ideal match. Note many Japanese Americans were raised on avoidance of intermarriage, but parents can be lenient or compromising if the arranged marriage of a partner of Japanese and non-Japanese descent benefits the family.

In WWII, you find many Japanese internment camps are located near Indian reservations and the confiscated farmlands did hired Cherokee and other American Indian laborers (the "Dust bowl" relocatees from Oklahoma included many American Indians from historic Indian territory). The Japanese also hired many Mexicans (including many of Amerindian origins) in their agricultural business operations in the Western US.

There were even falsified news reports on the Japanese are conspiring to act like saboteurs among Amerindians: In the L.A. times in Feb. 1943 (?) an article said the Japanese government sent agents to "hide" in East Los Angeles (Mexican American sections and communities across California) whom looked "Mexican" or "Aztec", and Indian reservations in the Southwest to encourage Mexicans and Amerindians to "rebel against white American masters", but this was a wartime myth.

I wonder if this is the same for Japanese agents "hide" in lets' say Chinatowns and where Filipinos lived, both China and the Philippines were under Japanese military occupation would not allow this. But all I know is the small but rising number of Native Americans who said they have Japanese ancestry in California is something in need for investigation. + (talk) 16:55, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

New articles?[edit]

I've created two related stub-articles to accompany the one article which already exists about the Issei in the United States. These new article-stubs are Nisei and Sansei.

From my point of view, these two new generational articles will benefit from working with the bi-national range of books and scholarly articles which focus on Japanese-American communities and Japanese-Canadian-American communities.

In due course, I have no doubt that it will make sense to separate these articles along national lines in 2009, but I would propose construing these subjects in terms of an unconventional non-national perspective for the next few months. At present, Issei is entirely US-focused, and I will work towards to diversifying its focus during the coming week.

At some convenient point in 2009, I would propose renaming these articles in the following manner:

In the meantime, any work done by whoever chooses to contribute will help establish a broader and possibly foundation than separate development would have produced ... or, at least, that's my tenative, open-ended plan ...?

I wonder if this non-standard proposal might provoke comments? Objections? Questions? --Tenmei (talk) 21:52, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Infobox flag icons[edit]

I understand the graphic logic in posting Japanese and American flags on either side of "Japanese Americans" at the top of the info box. I do think it looks visually better, arguably an improvement; but the mass Japanese American internment was motivated in part by similarly paired images of national flags.

In different words, The Japanese American Citizens League website home page features photos of the American flag, not Nisshōki (日章旗 "sun flag"?), not Hinomaru (日の丸 "sun disc"?). The Star Spangled Banner, not Kimi ga Yo (君が代?) is prominent at mid-summer Obon matsuri from San Jose, California to Boston, Massachusetts.

Of course, I know this is a trivial objection ... well, maybe not so trivial. Maybe my concern here is misplaced? --Tenmei (talk) 15:00, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I object to flags being used to represent people instead of countries, and have removed them in every article that I find them abused. Please refer to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (icons)#Flags. This is not a trivial objection, because using flags to represent people instead of countries is problematic: the countries represented by the flag might not contain the majority of the people of that ethnic group, people who no longer live in that country might have left it precisely because they oppose the government represented by that flag, etc. Please see my discussion in Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ethnic groups#Using national flags to represent expatriate people. DHN (talk) 19:11, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
DHN -- Thank you for helping establish a different, more forward-looking focus for this thread. I wonder if you would consider changing the term "abused" in the first sentence -- substituting a slightly different word like "misused" ...? --Tenmei (talk) 03:20, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Is "abused" perhaps a bit too strong a word? DHN (talk) 04:16, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

1st sentence[edit]

Hmains appended a prepositional phrase at the end of the first sentence (diff), and on further reflection, that addition was deleted (diff):

"Japanese Americans are Americans of Japanese heritage, either born in Japan or their descendents."

I've restored those excised words. I think the qualifier phrase is necessary. An Issei Japanese American currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono; and when I saw this trivial change, I thought of her immediately. Although there is nothing incorrect in the phrase "Americans of Japanese descent," I wonder if the clarifying specificity of those extra words might not be necessary? I wonder if others, like me, might otherwise tend to generalize in a way which inadvertently excludes this prominent woman and other Issei like her?

Maybe this small point has significance? --Tenmei (talk) 19:37, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Meaning of Nikkei[edit]

A while back I clarified the meaning of Nikkei. However,, without any reference or summary, altered the wording so that it's ambiguous as to whether Nikkei means Japanese-Americans, any member of the Japanese diaspora, or other possible meanings. Kenkyusha's New Japanese English Dictionary: Fifth Edition on page 1992 gives the following in it's definition for Nikkei, "日系二世" Nikkei Nisei "a second-generation Japanese 「American [Brazilian etc.]. Furthermore, for Japanese Americans in particular it gives this for Nikkei Amerikajin "日系アメリカ人 an American of Japanese 「parentage [extraction, descent]." You need Nikkei plus Amerikajin (Japanese for American) to indicate Japanese American. Clearly Nikkei is for all immigrants of Japanese descent; not just those in the US. I'll reword the statement again. (Ejoty (talk) 09:51, 29 June 2009 (UTC))

Invitation to discussion[edit]

Active editors of this article are invited to join the discussion regarding the change in Asian American article's infobox. Specifically we are looking to get nominations for individuals who would fall under this article, nominations shall remain open until 9 November 2009. Comments are also welcomed. Thank you in advance --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 13:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

FYI, the nomination process is now over, and the voting period has began. Due to lack of nominations the slot for Laotian female representative is vacant, and will need further discussion sometime after voting has been concluded. The voting period will last until 4 December 2009. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:11, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

From top-left to bottom-right[edit]

Yes, but reading horizontally or vertically? Or perhaps in a clockwise or widdershins spiral? The caption needs to be more explicit! (talk) 00:40, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Too many half-truths[edit]

Seriously, this website reeks of ethnocentrist stereotypes and other unfounded half-truths sometimes even contradicting with other information. Have a look at the chapters Languages and Education for example: Now do Nisei and Sansei give up Japanese or not? The dwindling publication numbers seem to suggest so! Without any other evidence, the claims before are without any substance. The education chapter almost sounds like a troll. Of course, a project like the one behind this page is bound to show pride. But this goes to the point where it loses credibility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:07, 3 April 2011 (UTC)


removed ", a statistically insignificant margin" as it is an opinion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:13, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Infobox image discussion[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Asian American#Infobox ethnicity representatives. RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 07:31, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Yoko Ono is not an "American"[edit]

Hi. I've noticed that you have Yoko Ono on your picture grouping on "Japanese Americans." Yet if you go to Yoko Ono's Wikipedia site, you will notice that it's pretty adamant that the woman is not an American citizen, but Japanese. Hence, no "Japanese-American" (unless you are prepared to stretch the definition of what it means to be a "Japanese-American" to include Japanese who live in America for however long yet do not become American citizens-and I'm sure you're not trying to do that!)

Thus-Yoko Ono is a "Japanese" living long term in the USA, but not a "Japanese-American" and should by any definition therefore be removed from your picture collection. Thanks114.178.195.28 (talk) 09:50, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

The site [9] lists Yoko Ono as a naturalized US citizen. Other sites (e.g. [10]) list her nationality as American. You'd have to come up with something that convincingly invalidates the assertion at these sites before your requested action is taken seriously. — Myasuda (talk) 14:38, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Deletion of Japanese-American categories[edit]

The categories involving Asian American actors and actresses are being proposed for deletion. If you have an opinion, either way, you can post your comment at:
Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2013 September 11#Category:American actors of Japanese_descent
Liz Read! Talk! 00:15, 12 September 2013 (UTC)