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Immigrants from Japan began arriving in the United States in the 1880s. At first there was only a trickle of adventurers, but by 1900 the demand for additional mining, railroad, and farm labor brought a stream of young Japanese males to the Western United States. Most settled on the West coast but a significant number found work in areas of the Interior West as well. The increasing numbers and the perceived economic competition these Japanese immigrants offered the larger population eventually led to the establishment of state laws restricting Japanese immigrants from purchasing land and the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1908, which prohibited the immigration of male laborers to the U.S. but allowed the wives and children of those already here to immigrate. Loopholes in the Agreement prompted unmarried Japanese in the U.S. to seek and receive picture brides from Japan and thousands of these picture brides arrived between 1908 and 1924. In 1924, the National Origins Act effectively closed all immigration from Japan to the United States. The “Japanese Immigration to the United States 1882-1924” web site begins the process of creating an available record of these immigrants. The site is organized around the original immigrants, usually male, their wives and children. The initial geographical focus of the site is Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, where information has been collected from manuscript censuses, cemetery records, obituaries, and local historians from the Japanese American community. This project owes a special debt to a select group of individuals, descendants of the original immigrants, who have spent countless hours collecting, translating, and organizing this information. Responsibility for any errors or omissions in this site is born solely by the site’s editor. The site is a work in process. It is to be hoped that the size and scope of the site will increase over time. We welcome the submission of information from interested patrons.


Eric Walz

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Send suggestions or comments to:
Eric Walz (walze@byui.edu)
Department of History SMI 312 BYU Idaho
Rexburg, ID 83460-0830
(208) 496-1833