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The Nippu Jiji (日布時事, nippu jiji), later published as the Hawaii Times, was a Japanese-English language newspaper based in Honolulu, Hawai'i. Established as the Yamato Shimbun by Shintaro Anno in 1895, the paper began as a six-page semi-weekly printed on a lithograph machine, and changed hands four times before being taken over by Yasutaro "Keiho" Soga in 1905. Soga changed the name of the paper to the Nippu Jiji, Japanese for "newspaper for telling timely news," on November 3, 1906, and under his direction the paper was expanded to a twelve-page daily printed on a rotary press with a circulation of 15,000.
The paper gained prominence through its support of the territory-wide strikes of sugarcane plantation workers in 1909 and 1920, publishing sympathetic editorial columns and featuring extensive reports on the often slave-like living and working conditions of the, in many cases indentured, laborers.Also active in covering legislative attempts to curb the practice of Japanese language education in the islands (and the subsequent lawsuit against the territorial government), the Nippu Jiji became a key source of information for Japanese Americans in Hawaii before World War II and continued to wield a significant influence through the war years and after. The paper ceased operations in 1985.
In its early years, the Nippu Jiji was a paper directed at Hawaii's Japanese plantation workers. These laborers and, later, their families, made up the bulk of its subscription, and so the paper's content was largely catered to their interests and concerns. In 1909, exploitative conditions on the plantations was at the top of the list, and under Yasutaro Soga's direction the Nippu Jiji became active in disseminating information related to the newly formed labor movement. The paper published in-depth accounts of the conditions in the fields and company housing, pushing the issue further into the public eye and pulling plantation owners and haole politicians into the debate.The strike failed, although it was the first to unite workers from multiple plantations and the island-wide work stoppage ultimately cost plantation owners $2,000,000 and forced them to make some concessions. Soga was convicted of conspiracy to incite violence for his role in organizing the strike, and sentenced to ten months in Oahu Prison. Some ten years later, the Nippu Jiji similarly supported a second, also unsuccessful, strike.
In 1919, the Nippu Jiji became the first Japanese language newspaper in Hawaii to introduce an English section, an attempt to reach out to American-born Nisei and, in Soga's words, "promote better understanding between the Japanese and the Americans."It was also a move to counteract widespread distrust of Japanese Americans, heightened by Japan's military successes in Russia and China, as well as the fact that the immigrant Issei and their children had by then become the islands' largest ethnic group. In 1921, Lawrence M. Judd (then a territorial senator) introduced an American Legion backed bill to require all foreign language publications to provide full translations of their content. Part of a larger movement to "Americanize" Hawaii's large and multi-ethnic immigrant population, the bill would have forced publishers to either expand at a tremendous cost increase or shrink their foreign language section to make room for the translations, and Soga editorialized against it. (The bill was later changed to require translations only from newspapers whose publishers had previously been convicted of violence, intimidation or promoting distrust between groups of people. Soga's 1909 conspiracy conviction, and the law itself once passed, were largely ignored.)
Soon after, the Nippu Jiji became involved in a political controversy regarding the 163 Japanese language schools then operating in Hawaii. The territorial legislature began imposing restrictions on instructor certifications, textbook content, and the amount of time students were allowed to spend at Japanese school in 1920 (after several unsuccessful attempts to pass more restrictive laws in 1918 and 1919).The Federal Commission of Education declared in 1920 that the 20,000 students attending these schools were being "retarded in accepting American customs, manners, ideals, principles, and standards." In April 1923, the territorial legislature enacted the Clark Bill, establishing a per-student tax on the language schools and forcing schools unable to afford the tax to close. Some teachers and parents elected to push back and sued to repeal the restrictions; the Nippu Jiji, drifting away from the leftist stance it took during the sugar strikes, printed articles opposing litigation and urging the community instead to work with the politicians who had drafted the laws.
Martial law was declared in Hawaii a few hours after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, and Governor Joseph Poindexter conceded his authority to Commanding General Walter Short. Five days later the Nippu Jiji, along with every other Japanese-language newspaper, was forced to close. Yasutaro Soga and others at the paper were interned. However, the military government soon discovered that without the Japanese newspapers they had no way of communicating with the many Issei who could not read English, and on January 9, 1942 the Nippu Jiji and its main pre-war rival, the Hawaii Hochi, were ordered to reopen and operate under Short's directives. Military supervising staff were assigned by the censorship office, and took over administration of the newspaper and much of the English writing. Existing staff members translated the English articles into Japanese, which were then sent on to FBI or Army linguists for approval before going into print.As part of the military government's policy of pushing for the assimilation and Americanization of the Islands' Japanese American population, both papers were forced to change their names to English titles, and on November 2, 1942 the Nippu Jiji became the Hawaii Times (and would continue to publish under this name until its closure).
With the Hawaii Herald (formerly the Hawaii Hochi) as its only competition during the war, the Times maintained its place in the community as an influential and widely read newspaper, and continued to reach a large audience for years after the war. The paper closed in 1985, and nearly 30,000 photos and documents left behind were claimed by University of Hawai'i at Manoa Professor Dennis M. Ogawa and the Hawaii Times Photo Archives Foundation. The collection is currently being processed for public access.
During the early years of World War II, Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes in the West Coast because military leaders and public opinion combined to fan unproven fears of sabotage. As the war progressed, many of the young Nisei, Japanese immigrants' children who were born with American citizenship, volunteered or were drafted to serve in the United States military. Japanese Americans served in all the branches of the United States Armed Forces, including the United States Merchant Marine. An estimated 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the U.S. military during World War II, of which 20,000 joined the Army. Approximately 800 were killed in action.
Issei is a Japanese-language term used by ethnic Japanese in countries in North America and South America to specify the Japanese people who were the first generation to immigrate there. Issei are born in Japan; their children born in the new country are Nisei ; and their grandchildren are Sansei.
Milton Atsushi Murayama was an American novelist and playwright. A Nisei, he wrote the 1975 novel All I Asking for Is My Body, which is considered a classic novel of the experiences of Japanese Americans in Hawaii before and during World War II.
Japanese language education in the United States began in the late 19th century, aimed mainly at Japanese American children and conducted by parents and community institutions. Over the course of the next century, it would slowly expand to include non-Japanese as well as native speakers. A 2012 survey of foreign-language learners by the Japan Foundation found 4,270 teachers teaching the Japanese language to 155,939 students at 1,449 different institutions, an increase of 10.4% in the number of students since the 2009 survey. The quality and focus of dialogues in Japanese textbooks meant for English-speakers has changed since the 1970s.
People from Japan began emigrating to the U.S. in significant numbers following the political, cultural, and social changes stemming from the 1868 Meiji Restoration. Japanese immigration to the Americas started with immigration to Hawaii in the first year of the Meiji period in 1868.
Nisei is a Japanese language term used in countries in North America and South America to specify the ethnically Japanese children born in the new country to Japanese-born immigrants. The Nisei are considered the second generation, and the grandchildren of the Japanese-born immigrants are called Sansei, or third generation.
Japanese American history is the history of Japanese Americans or the history of ethnic Japanese in the United States. People from Japan began immigrating to the U.S. in significant numbers following the political, cultural, and social changes stemming from the 1868 Meiji Restoration. Large-scale Japanese immigration started with immigration to Hawaii during the first year of the Meiji period in 1868.
The Hawaii Hochi is a six-day-a-week Japanese-language newspaper published and sold in Hawaii. The newspaper was founded in 1912 to serve the Japanese immigrant community in Hawaii. Founder Frederick Kinzaburo Makino had recently been released from a ten-month prison sentence for his role in organizing a 1909 labor strike among sugarcane plantation workers. Disappointed by existing newspapers' coverage of continuing labor disputes, Makino established the Hochi to present a "non-party and independent" perspective on the issues then facing Japanese Americans in Hawaii. After some initial financial struggles, the Hochi became one of the primary sources for news related to political issues important to the island's Japanese community, publicly supporting legislation to extend Asian American citizenship rights and ease restrictions on Japanese language schools, as well as another strike in 1920. The paper was one of only a few to discuss racial inequality in the islands during the highly publicized Massie Trial of 1932.
Yasutaro (Keiho) Soga was a Hawaiian Issei journalist, poet and activist. He was a community leader among Hawaii's Japanese residents, serving as chief editor of the Nippu Jiji, then the largest Japanese-language newspaper in Hawaii and the mainland United States, and organizing efforts to foster positive Japan-U.S. relations and address discriminatory legislation, labor rights and other issues facing Japanese Americans. An accomplished news writer and tanka poet before the war, during his time in camp Soga authored one of the earliest memoirs of the wartime detention of Japanese Americans, Tessaku Seikatsu or Life Behind Barbed Wire.
Masaji Marumoto was the first Japanese American Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawaii. He served from 1956 to 1973. He was the first Japanese American to graduate from Harvard Law School, and the first Japanese American to serve as president of the Hawaii Bar Association.
Wilfred Chomatsu "Tsuky" Tsukiyama(築山長松) was an attorney, Territorial Senator, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawaii. He was the first Japanese American elected to the Territorial Senate of Hawaii, and the first to serve as a state Supreme Court Justice in the United States.
Takie Okumura(奥村 多喜衛) was a Christian minister from Japan. He was the founder of the Makiki Christian Church in Honolulu, Hawaii, the "Okumura Boys and Girls Home", and some of Hawaii's first Japanese language schools.
Fred Kinzaburo Makino(フレッド 金三郎 牧野) was the founder of the Hawaii Hochi and a community activist. He advocated for workers rights, and led a strike in 1909. Makino also advocated against the regulation of Japanese language schools.
Motoyuki Negoro(根来源之) was a journalist and strike leader in Hawaii.
Yemyo Imamura(今村恵猛) was a Buddhist priest who was active in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was a leader in the Japanese American community. He was a priest at the Honpa Hongwanji, and started their Young Men's Buddhist Association (YMBA).
Otokichi "Muin" Ozaki was a Japanese tanka poet who lived in Hawaii.
Motokazu "Taisanboku" Mori was a Japanese surgeon and tanka poet who practiced in Hawaii.
Tomizo Katsunuma (勝沼富造) was a Japanese veterinarian and immigration inspector. He was also one of the first Japanese Mormons. He wrote under the penname Bashoan Shujin (馬笑庵主人).
Sei Tanizawa Soga was a Japanese activist and community leader in Hawaii. Her penname was Shigano Urako.
Yeiko Mizobe So was the founder of the Japanese Women’s Home in Honolulu. The organization was a shelter for Japanese picture brides fleeing abuse.