Japanese Immigrant Nationalism

JAPANESE IMMIGRANT NATIONALISM 3

JapaneseImmigrant Nationalism

JapaneseImmigrant Nationalism

Inthe article titled “JapaneseImmigrant Nationalism: The Issei and the Sino-Japanese War,1937-1941”,Yuji Ichioka examines the role that Issei played in the war betweenChina and Japan between 1937 and 1941. It is well acknowledged thatthe Issei nationalism crystallized following the eruption of theSino-Japanese war and persisted unrestricted until 1941. During thewar, Issei leader realized that there was no quick resolution, inwhich case they created emergency committees withint he pre-existingJapanese associations, which were aimed at serving a number ofpurposes including dissemination of pro-Japanese propaganda in aneffort to counteract local publicity blaming Japan for war, andmobilized collection of goods and money that could be sent to Japanfor war relif and nationl defense. Further, they sent gift packets tothe Japanese soldiers that were on the China front. Lastly, thecommittees financed periodic patriotic meetings that wouldcommemorate varied war events. Two rural Japanese communitiesundertook the patriotic activities in which ordinary Issei took part,including Yakima, Washington whose leaders raised sizable donationsused in national defense, and the Walnut Grove, California that notonly collected funds but also distributed the pamphlets publishedlocally. These communities had their actions replicated in othercommunities, something that inspired intense Japanese immigrantnationalism. It is noted that the nationalism seemed to be gettingout of hand as per the Los Angeles Consul in 1938, with thecommunities competing to raise the highest amounts of funds. Ota,therefore, beseeched the Foreign Ministry to take some measures thatwould regulate or lower the intense patriotism that the Isseidemonstrated. Essentially, they televised the remarks of Japaneseforeign ministry to the effect that while the efforts of foreignimmigrants were laudable, it was preferable that the funds are usedin educating themselves about Japan’s policy. This statement drewimmense criticism from the overseas Japanese, who used variedcultural expressions to underline their patriotic sentimentsparticularly the press that served as the main source of informationon the war. Apart from the press, varied spokesmen for the Japanesegovernment were dispatched so as to influence Issei opinion includingwell known figures such as Shishimoto Hashiro and Henry Toshiro.Other unofficial Japanese government spokesmen shaped Issei opinionmany of who represented the private groups. While there may have beensome positive effects of this nationalism, some negative effects alsoemerged including creation of deep wedges between Issei generationand Nisei leaders, as well as the surveillance and subsequentrounding up of Issei leaders by FBI as dangerous immigrants.

Thispaper provides a comprehensive detail of the effects of Esseinationalism and its effects not only at that time but also in thecurrent days. Indeed, it is noted that the Issei experience in theUnited States came with a legacy for bitter resentment anddisillusionment. Further, as much as the Issei felt that thepatriotic support did not contradict their citizenship or residencyin America, their actions were wrongfully equated by the Americanintelligence agents with espionage, sabotage and subversion. In spiteof the comprehensiveness of the article regarding the experiences ofthe Issei and how their nationalism played out in the course of thewar, it is unclear regarding the roles that women played in the same.Further, it would be nice to know what happened to individuals whoheld dissenting opinions regarding the war.