Japanese are among the different ethnic groups that immigrated to the United States between 1870s and 1880s. At that time, the Japanese economy was in the transition stage slowly transforming into the economy that it has today, and this led to numerous economic hardships, like unemployment and crime.
Bankruptcies were wide spread in the economy and civil disorders were common. Such economic hardships forced most Japanese people to immigrate to the US and particularly to Hawaii (Schaefer, 2011).
During the time, the sugar industry in Hawaii was booming, which attracted the Japanese, who were mostly laborers. A decade from 1885, almost 30,000 Japanese have moved to Hawaii seeking jobs and hoping to return home.
When America took over the Island of Hawaii in 1900, the sugar plantation owners anticipated the legislation of American laws against the contract labors (Johnson, 2010).
To beat the ban, they imported about 26,000 laborers from Japan in 1899; this was the single largest group of Japanese to leave for America in one year. Finally, the law annulled the contract labor permitting all the Japanese to migrate freely to the mainland USA.
Process of Entering the US
For many years, Hawaii was densely populated by the Japanese people, as opposed to other regions in the USA, and it was due to racial discrimination in the country.
Racial discrimination was not significant in Hawaii as it was in the mainland US this had become known to the Japanese government, and it stopped issuing passports to citizens wishing to travel to the mainland US.
However, many of those who received permission to travel to Hawaii found their way to mainland US (Johnson, 2010).
Americans Attitude to Japanese
The initial relationship between the Japanese and the American people were similar to those of Chinese and American relationships, as Chinese had also immigrated as laborers to Hawaii.
The Chinese in Hawaii and mainland had ventured into small business and were successful, and this led to resentment and rejection from the Americans because of their hard work.
The Japanese had followed the same pattern, initially like a substitute to Chinese labor, but soon there was a growing dislike for Japanese.
These attitudes were more severe in the mainland as opposed to Hawaii and regulations were put in place that limited their progress and activities. In Hawaii, the laws limited the movement of the Japanese to more skilled jobs, and in the mainland they were not allowed to own land.
The theory of racial profiling can be used to describe the experiences of the Japanese Americans, and it became even worse during the Second World War (Schaefer, 2011).
Japanese’s Values and Beliefs
Japanese society does not believe in one God like most Americans who believe in God who controls everything and determines the fate of people. The Japanese believe in a number of virtues that affect the character and the destiny of the individuals.
Japanese have all along been a collective society as compared to the American way of life where emphasis is made more on group values rather than on individual ones. These social groups play a significant role in helping other members in the community; this could explain their relative success of the Japanese.
The Americans are individualistic society, where individuals look on to themselves and the members of the immediate family (Onozawa, 2003).
The Japanese have an exceptionally strong filial piety, where all members of the society respect the elderly and take care of them. They value them as an excellent source of oral traditions that are passed to future generation.
Current Conditions in Japan
Since the first immigrants moved to the US, the economic conditions in Japan have changed drastically (Schaefer, 2011). Since 1950, Japan has been among the strongest and the fastest growing economies in the world and by 1995 it had caught up with the American economy.
It is now one of the most highly industrialized and developed nations in the world and occupies the third position after the United States and China (Onozawa, 2003).
When the first immigrants were heading to the US, the country was primarily agricultural, but now it has turned into an industrialized nation with sectors such as manufacturing, service and trade, playing a vital role in the economy (Onozawa, 2003).
According to IMF, Japan has one of the highest per capita incomes, and the unemployment level is extremely low. The country is a member of G8, meaning that it has a powerful influence on the world’s politics and economics.
Japan currently ranks as the top most innovative country in the world, as seen in the number of patents registered. From 1968, Japan was the second largest economy until 2010 when China dislodged it to third position.
Almost 70 out of the 500 fortune companies are Japanese, and despite the effects of the Second World War, they emerged with resilience, and its economic growth is almost unbelievable (Schaefer, 2011).
Opinion on Their Journey
Given the experiences of the Japanese immigrants in the USA, especially during and after the Second World War, the journey did not benefit them; instead they lost all they acquired (Johnson, 2010).
When the Pearl Harbor was attacked, it marked a turning point and ushered in the most traumatic experiences of the Japanese immigrants. As a result, many Japanese were murdered and even more were taken to custody and they lost all their investments and jobs.
Their assets were liquidated by the state, and after the war Japanese were mostly laborers, while those in professional jobs dropped significantly (Johnson, 2010). I would not have made the same decision of moving to the US, in my opinion I would have remained in Japan.
Johnson, R. (2010). Be Good Americans: The Message of the Japanese-American Courier. The Great Depression in Washington State. Retrieved from http://depts.washington.edu/depress/japanese_american_courier_americanism.shtml
Onozawa, N. (2003). Immigration from Japan to the U.S.A., Historical Trends and Background. Retrieved from https://www.tsukuba-g.ac.jp/library/kiyou/2003/7.ONOZAWA.pdf
Schaefer, R. (2011). Racial and Ethnic Groups. (13th ed.). Washington, DC: Pearson.