Japanese in Chicago
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The first group of Japanese in Chicago arrived in 1892. They came as part of the Columbian Exposition so they could build the Ho-o-den Pavilion in Chicago. In 1893 the first known Japanese individual in Chicago, Kamenosuke Kishi, moved to Chicago from San Francisco. He opened a gift store, and Masako Osako, author of "Japanese Americans: Melting into the All-American Melting Pot," wrote that he was "said to have amassed $700,000 from the successful management" of his 27th Street and Cottage Grove location.
Some Japanese in Chicago operated businesses such as restaurants, gift shops, and housing units. Some Japanese came to study at universities in the Chicago area. In 1893 Eiji Asada completed a PhD at the University of Chicago.
The pre-World War II Japanese population mostly lived in the Hyde Park/Kenwood/Woodlawn region. Many of the Japanese were students of the University of Chicago or had graduated from that school. Irving Cutler, author of Chicago, Metropolis of the Mid-continent, wrote that in that period, compared to the West Coast, Chicago had little discrimination against the Japanese. In 1927 there were 300 Japanese Americans in Chicago. In 1940 there were 390 Japanese Americans in Chicago. Osako characterized the pre-World War II growth of the Japanese-American community as being slow.
World War II
During World War II, the first field office of the War Relocation Authority (WRA) opened in Chicago and the city invited Japanese leaving the Japanese internment camps. The first wave of Japanese Americans from the internment camps arrived on June 12, 1942. During the war, the number of ethnic Japanese increased to 20,000. Unlike on the west coast, the Japanese had freedom of movement and could work. Japanese worked in factories making materials to support the war, including aircraft and electronics.
The Japanese Americans in Chicago largely relied on each other and avoided support from civic organizations, church organizations, and the WRA. Charlotte Brooks, author of "In the Twilight Zone between Black and White: Japanese American Resettlement and Community in Chicago, 1942-1945," wrote that Chicagoans did not perceive the Japanese-Americans as being "Japanese", but rather as non-White, and being "Orientals" but not black. She stated that Chicagoans, accustomed to living in a city with predominately Whites of a superior status and blacks with an inferior status, had difficulty classifying Japanese in their racial structure. She added that the discrimination against the Japanese mainly came because they were non-White, not because they were Japanese. Some anti-Japanese violence occurred, including the destruction of windows of a Japanese gift shop. During that period Chicago-area Chinese and Filipinos stressed that they were not Japanese. The Japanese of the era had a tendency to gravitate towards the White world and away from the black world, understanding that blacks in Chicago had an inferior status. Ultimately 30,000 Japanese had moved from the internment camps to Chicago.
Post-World War II
After World War II ended, many Japanese who had originated from the internment camps returned to the West Coast, so the Japanese population decreased. The influx of Japanese ended in 1950. Almost half of the Japanese who had settled in Chicago from the internment camps moved back to the West Coast. By 1960, there were about 15,000 Japanese in Chicago and the moving to the West Coast ceased.
A 1993 article called "Racial Change to the Suburbs" quoted Japanese Americans as being experts on the Asian Americans moving to the suburbs. Jacalyn D. Harden, author of Double Cross: Japanese Americans in Black and White Chicago, wrote that it was "seen by many" as "privileging" the "Japanese Americans over other Asian groups."
By 1995 Japanese Americans began moving to the suburbs. Most of them were white collar households who had higher incomes and better educations who wish to find superior schools for their offspring. As of 1995, about 25% of the Japanese American households are in the suburbs. As a result, Osako stated that the next generations of Nisei in the Chicago area will have less contact with the wider Japanese American community in the central city than before.
As of 2006 there is a high intermarriage rate among the Japanese, and there is a large amount of assimilation into the larger American community.
As of the 2000 U.S. Census, 5,500 people of Japanese descent lived in the city of Chicago, and 17,500 people of Japanese descent lived in Chicago suburbs such as Arlington Heights, Evanston, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, and Skokie. Most Japanese within the City of Chicago live in lakefront areas in the North Side, including Edgewater, Lake View, Near North Side, Uptown, and West Ridge.
Jay Shimotake, the president of the Mid America Japanese Club (MAJC), an organization located in Arlington Heights now known as the Chicago Japanese Club (シカゴ日本人会 Shikago Nihonjin Kai), said "Arlington Heights is a very convenient location, and Japanese people in the business environment know it's a nice location surrounding O'Hare airport."
As of 2006 several thousand Japanese nationals working as representatives of companies live in the Chicago area.
In the Chicago area, 60% of Japanese people work in professional and white collar jobs.
The Chicago Shimpo is a Japanese-American newspaper published in Arlington Heights. Other media include the Japanese American Service Committee Newsletter; Weekly J-Angle (ジャングル）; Q Magazine (Qマガジン); The JACLer, the newsletter of the JACL; Prairie Magazine (プレーリー); Pavilion (パビリオン); and US Shimbun's Chicago section.
The Chicago Futabakai Japanese School is located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The Chicago Futabakai Japanese School Saturday school first opened in the North Side in May 1966. The Saturday school moved to Skokie, Illinois in May 1978. At that time, the day school opened in Skokie, with four teachers sent by the Japanese government. In August 1984 the Saturday school and day school moved to Niles, Illinois. The current campus in Arlington Heights opened on Monday April 6, 1998, and classes at that location began on Friday April 10, 1998.
There was a Japanese school in the pre-World War II era.
- Brooks, Charlotte. "In the Twilight Zone between Black and White: Japanese American Resettlement and Community in Chicago, 1942-1945." Journal of American History. 86:4 (March 2000): p. 1655-1687. - Available at JSTOR, Available at EBSCOHost
- Harden, Jacalyn D. Double Cross: Japanese Americans in Black and White Chicago. University of Minnesota Press, 2003. ISBN 0816640432, 9780816640430.
- Hurd, Owen. Chicago History for Kids: Triumphs and Tragedies of the Windy City Includes 21 Activities. Chicago Review Press, July 1, 2007. ISBN 1613740409, 9781613740408.
- Murata, Alice K. Japanese Americans in Chicago (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0738519529, 9780738519524.
- Osako, Masako. "Japanese Americans: Melting into the All-American Melting Pot." In: Holli, Melvin G. and Peter d'Alroy Jones (editors). Ethnic Chicago: A Multicultural Portrait. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995. Start p. 409. ISBN 0802870538, 9780802870537.
- Murata, p. 7.
- Osako, p. 422.
- Cutler, Irving. Chicago, Metropolis of the Mid-continent. SIU Press, 2006. ISBN 0809387956, 9780809387953. p. 189.
- Cutler, Irving. Chicago, Metropolis of the Mid-continent. SIU Press, 2006. ISBN 0809387956, 9780809387953. p. 190.
- Osako, p. 423.
- Hurd, p. 142.
- Brooks, "In the Twilight Zone between Black and White: Japanese American Resettlement and Community in Chicago, 1942-1945," p. 1657
- Brooks, "In the Twilight Zone between Black and White: Japanese American Resettlement and Community in Chicago, 1942-1945," p. 1655
- Brooks, "In the Twilight Zone between Black and White: Japanese American Resettlement and Community in Chicago, 1942-1945," p. 1656
- Harden, p. 162-163.
- Osako, p. 431.
- Selvam, Ashok. "Asian population booming in suburbs." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois). March 6, 2011. Retrieved on June 19, 2013.
- "Contact, Directions, and Hours". Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago. Retrieved June 6, 2014. "Consulate General of Japan 737 North Michigan Avenue Suite 1100* Chicago, Illinois 60611"
- Brooks, Charlotte. "Japanese." Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved on March 2, 2014.
- "Chicago Shimpo Moved to Arlington Heights" (Archive). Chicago Shimpo. Retrieved on August 21, 2014. "New location: 2045 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Suite 108C Arlington Heights, IL 60005"
- "Links." Nikkei Chicago (publication). Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
- Caitlin, Kay. "Japanese school eases burden." Chicago Tribune. June 25, 1986. F32. Retrieved on January 10, 2012. "To visit the Chicago Futabakai Japanese School at 8101 Cumberland Ave. in Niles[...]" and "[...]the former Kenton School at 4600 Main St., Skokie,[...]" and "[...]a branch Saturday School[...]the former Niles Township High School East, at Lincoln and Niles Avenues, Skokie" and "[...]Notre Dame High School, 7655 Dempster St., Niles,[...]"
- Burgos, Frank. "School helps kids remain Japanese Tokyo classrooms in Niles." Chicago Sun-Times. June 14, 1992. Page 18. Retrieved on January 10, 2012.
- Davis, Jon. "Japanese school opens in Arlington Heights." Chicago Daily Herald. April 7, 1998. News 6. Retrieved on January 10, 2012.
- Nishi, Setsuko Matsunaga. Japanese American achievement in Chicago: a cultural response to degradation. University of Chicago, 1963. Available in snippet view at Google Books.
- Chicago Japanese-American Year Book. 1947. Available in snippet view at Google Books.