In the past few decades, Asian Americans have impacted significantly by the change of America (Takaki 119). Apparently, they are among the fastest growing societies in the country, and the country can feel their presence (Takaki 119. Luckily, historians tell us of the little-known histories of Asian Americans, but they do not go past the general view to explain more on individual experiences. However, the actual reflections on the experiences of Asians from immigration to the present days cannot be told from books or other digital Medias. Such history is deeply embodied in the scrutiny of the records of immigrants. To get a clear view of such experiences, it’s essential to go past statistics and scrutinize how immigrants lived and felt about America during that tenure.
When Asian immigrants came to America, they did not conform and melt into a common society, as was the custom of assimilation and acculturation by other communities (Takaki 121). Most Asian Immigrants continued along with their valuable practices and attributes from their communities. However, they met a non-receptive society characterized by the whitish idea of carrying out everyday activities. All these activities either impacted negatively or positively to the lives of immigrants. Such experiences tried to transform America into a broad mosaic society. The new society now encompassed different individuals who had come to evolve a new life in a new environment. Apparently, the Asian-Americans immigrants were also caught up in this mosaic (Takaki 122). With this regard, they were even labeled a “scorned minority” that could not fit in the white society. One of such stories is the study of the experiences of MatsuokaSugue and Suzuki Alno, who were Asian immigrants to the US during the twentieth century.Their stories are evolved and developed based on their genealogical history and the prevalent events of that time.
Background Information (, Suzuki Alno)
In the year 1912, Suzuki Alno’s husband went to the US to search for a better life. In the local village, there was no money, and Suzuki’s husband needed money to care for her mother and his newly wedded wife (Ancestry® 1). Moreover, most of the people in their village were farmers who could not offer satisfactory employments. Life was hard in their community, to the extent that they lacked basic needs. Propitiously, when Suzuki’s husband moved to the United States, he was lucky to get a job, of which he even managed to send some money back home(Ancestry® 1). Later, he decided to get his newly wedded wife Suzuki Alno, to come and start a better life in America.The year 1918 was a dream comes true for Suzuki Alno. Her husband had made full arrangements for her to move to America. She even went ahead and gave her belongings and their small piece of land to relatives and neighbors. To her, she was completely ready to get into a new world (Ancestry® 1).
Background Information (Matsuoka Sugue)
In the early 1910s, the United States had developed into a nation filled with immigrants. Notably, the Japanese community had previously undergone massive economic crisis and cultural crisis which left the country polarized and without adequate employment opportunities (Lott, 21). As a result, many young men in demand for better pay were driven out of their countries to move to the US as casual labors (Lott, 21). Mostly, they engaged in picking farm produce, building roads and cutting trees. Owing to the worsening relationship that had existed between the United States and Japan such laborers were not allowed to come with their wives, until when they were liberated from casual laboring (Lott, 25). However, after regaining their freedom, they were allowed to marry or bring their wives from Japan. Matsuoka Sugue who arrived in the US in the year 1918 was a victim of such a circumstance (Ancestry® 2). His husband Matoki was a liberated worker, and he wanted to give a good life to his wife by bringing her to America (Ancestry® 2).
Moving From East to West
When SuzukiAlno arrived at the United States; precisely San Francisco, she was promptly transferred to Angel Island where most Asian immigrants were taken for interrogations (Ancestry® 1). Usually, no Asian immigrant discerned the native American language which was English. Suzuki was no exception either. At this stage, Suzuki had started to lament on coming to the US as an Asian immigrant, as all her prospects had been instantly devastated by the detention she was to face in the Angel Island (Ancestry® 1). Luckily, Suzuki’s husband had become an Inherent American, and she was not interned for long. But she had to go through the debriefings before recuperating her freedom.
Matsuoka Sugue was also meet with the same response analogous to what Suzuki had encountered. Her husband was a mere casual worker, and so she had to endure the whole process of incarceration and questioning (Ancestry® 2). The authorities intensely questioned Matsuoka Sugue, asking countless questions, some of which she could not answer, in line to the communication barrier. She remained in fear of being deported as the authorities were very profound on immigrants; mainly those from the Asian community. After, the immigration interview she was unconstrained and relieved from her detention. The small Angel Island experience was so dismaying, and not among the type of reception she had anticipated in America(Ancestry® 2).
Developing New Lives in New Lands
In 1924 America had acknowledged so many immigrants, and such immigrants had started to become an intimidation to the country’s homogeneity. With this regard, the country advanced a policy designed to preserve the country’s identity by banning immigrants from Asia access to the country (Roger 39). Furthermore, no immigrant from Asia would be allowed to become an American citizen. Notably, most Asian Americans were immigrants in the United States because of the search of better lives. The United States was a resources-rich country with a squat supply of labor (Roger 39). The Native Americans supposed they were superior to other communities and thus they could not engage in such cheap labor.
As Suzuki’s family settled in America, they had to give in as residents of America and strive hard to build their lives through all available means. At this time, most companies had extended their operations, and they required many casual laborers. As earlier mentioned Suzuki’s husband had been absorbed into employment, but with the intensifying demand for workers, he chose to search for a new job, where he was certain of a wage increment (Ancestry® 1). At that time by the early 1920s new irrigation schemes were being established by companies like Idaho and Utah, and Suzuki’s husband was immediately absorbed by this company (Ancestry® 1).Suzuki’s husband started his new work as a laborer in the sugar beet fields. At the expiration of the beet spell, he defected back the railway industry as a casual laborer. What was the most important to him and his family was the use of their labor to sustain and improve their livelihood?
Matsuoka Sugue family also migrated to America during the same period with a looming shortage of workers. Her husband immediately got employment in the new plantation of firms, hoping that one day he could own his farm (Ancestry® 2).Coming from a farming background in Japan, he had adequate knowledge of how to go about agriculture in their new lands. By the early 1930s, he had saved most of his wages that were sufficient to rent him a piece of land. However, there was still a challenge as there was an anti-Japanese groundswell during that time and it was no easy for an Asian America to lease or own property. (Ancestry® 2). Luckily, he was able to rent a small piece of land to grow beets. After, some few years his brother and friends from Japan came to help him on his farm.
Gaining New, Identity in New Lands
All Asian immigrants coming to the US by the twenty century expected an improved life, better than what they had left back in their villages. However, this was not the case. At that time, America was a whitish society, and all immigrants were faced with discrimination. Moreover, the immigrants did not speak English nor dress similarly to the Native Americans, and thus they appeared as a “minority group”.
When Suzuki arrived, she was equally met with discrimination; most of the time she was singled out by the Native Americans for their selfish interests (Ancestry® 1). Coincidentally, the government also experienced an overflow of Asian immigrants, and such reported cases of racism to immigrants were paid little or no attention. Despite all these challenges, Suzuki moved to the America and became successful there. Even under such harsh condition, Suzuki’s family endured all discriminations and she equally raised her family as the white peers did. All her children attended the grammar school, where they were able to learn some basics of the English language (Ancestry® 1). Later her children advanced their education similar to their white peers.
Matsuoka Sugue family was also caught up in the threshold of discrimination. Fortunately for her, she had succeeded to get registered as an American citizen. However, activists continually pressured the government to stop leasing land to Japanese immigrants (Ancestry® 2). As earlier mentioned, Matsuoka Sugue heavily relied on agriculture as their primary economic activity, and they had even gone ahead to lease some land to practice the same. For this reason, Matsuoka Sugue family joined the efforts of other Asian Americans in fighting discrimination (Ancestry® 2). Firstly, they emphasized their role to the government as essential farm workers who helped a great deal in improving the economy of America. Secondly, they purchased World War 1 bands to show that they were loyal to America. Moreover, they rebutted charges brought against them with continuous demonstrations against the anti- aliens association (Ancestry® 2). Lastly, they improved their homes to match those of their American peers. By doing all these actions Matsuoka Sugrue and her family were able to give themselves an American identity amidst many of the challenges they faced (Ancestry® 2).
Establishing Of Communities by Asian -American Immigrants
As more Asian immigrants began to increase in America, they started growing into communities. By this time in the early 1930s, life had become really tough for immigrants in America owing to their change in lifestyles and the continuous racist’s abuses from their white peers(Spickard 7).Suzuki and his family were not left out in this predicaments (Ancestry® 2). In the early 1930s-1940s, there was enormous labor competition, among immigrants which lead to the anti-Japanese attitudes in America. This was so, because they were favored, thanks to their hard working nature. As earlier mentioned, the government had banned new immigrants from entering the country (Spickard 7). However, the government allowed the wives of labors to join them in their country. Many Asian women who came to their husbands in the US were frustrated with their new homes because they had to withstand discrimination and hard manual labor to survive (Spickard 7). Furthermore, they lived in poor surroundings that did not have electricity and adequate water supply.
Due to the change in lifestyles of the new wives of laborers, they required gaining new skills like; bread making, sewing, and speaking English (Spickard 7). It’s almost no question that they could not get such skills from their white peers. With this regard, Japanese immigrants opted to form communities that would help them adapt to the American lifestyle. Unluckily for Suzuki, she was already established in the US with a big family, and there was no point of returning to Japan (Ancestry® 1). For this reason, she greatly helped strengthen such communities as they were a basis for their future in their adopted country.
On the dawn of February, in the year 1942, the president of American Franklin D. Roosevelt bestowed to the pressures of the public and issued an executive order permitting the concentration of one hundred and twenty thousand Japanese people (Emily 51). The Japanese populace had become a threat to most islands, and the president ordered their detention in offshore concentrations camps. Moreover, the order also evicted them from their homes, jobs, and businesses. Matsuoka Sugue husband was a victim of such an experience. Her husband was detained and taken to one of the concentration camps (Ancestry® 2). Furthermore, they large leased farm which they grew beets was seized by the authorities
After the detention of MatsuokaSugue husband, the conditions in the concentration camps were hard to endure. In this regarded, the Japanese society had to depend on a community edifice to survive (Ancestry® 2). Primarily, they started forming literacy groups, baseball teams, and consumer groups. Also, religious association from Japan like Buddhist helped create such community structures (Ancestry® 2).Such community groups were motivated by their prior hardships like poverty, harsh conditions, and discrimination. Mostly, all these communities took care of the welfare of all Japanese communities in the detention camps. When they were later released from these concentration camps, they were the able to form alliances that momentously helped them in restructuring their lives as immigrants (Ancestry® 2). More importantly, the formation of these groups helped evolve commissions that were responsible for the protection of the rights of Japanese Americans. Irrefutably, the Asian American immigrants helped fashion an important aspect of harmony and cooperation for the good of the whole society.
The Post War Period
The world wars really impacted on the lives of Asian American’s; and precisely the Japanese Americans. Remarkably, all their property had been seized, and most Japanese Americans as a result of detention had lost their jobs, friends, business, and savings (Michael, and Howard 10). After MatsuokaSugue husband had been released from detention, they knew they were no longer welcome back to the Columbia River basin (Ancestry® 2). For this reason, they opted to seek new employment opportunities in the streets of California where there was an extensive development of farming societies (Ancestry® 2).
In the ensuing years, there were massive efforts by Japanese American diplomats to remove state restrictions against Japanese American’s, for them to regain full citizenship through naturalization (Michael, and Howard 10). Also, Japanese diplomats pushed for the right of AsianAmericans to own property. As a result of this efforts, there was the enactment of the of the Walter-McCarran Act (1952) that permitted Japanese American’s to own property and become citizens of America by naturalization (Michael, and Howard 10).In lieu to this, MatsuokaSugue family continued with his earlier business of farming in California, and they went ahead to lease many portions of land to cultivate sugar beets (Ancestry® 2). Essentially, the passage of this act allowed Asian Americans to assume normal lives just like the Native Americans. This impacted their lives positively as they were heavily endowed with attributes like co-operation and hard work which helped them excel greatly.
The Making of Japanese Americans
By the early 1950s, Japanese Americans were struggling to regain a place in the American society. At this time Suzuki Aoshi had become a full citizen of America, with fully aged children (Ancestry® 1). Despite all the efforts to fight discrimination, it still existed though at minimal levels. In this take, the Japanese Americans decided to form their alliances that would enhance cooperation and provide aid to their members affected by discrimination. Some of the associations that arose at that time and which Suzuki contributed in founding included the Wapato language school, the Methodist church, and some community-based halls (Ancestry® 1). Additionally, the Japanese communities continued with their cooperation and even came together to celebrate special events like the Girls Day. Moreover, they entered into competitions with their white peers to promote diversity, while appreciating the Japanese culture.
When MatsuokaSugue moved to California, they also continued with the making of the Japanese Americans. MatsuokaSugue continually pursued to coach their neighbors to end discrimination by endorsing and teaching them the Japanese culture, and heritage. MatsuokaSugue together with other women sponsored many events in their new settings to promote diplomacy and harmony in the society (Ancestry® 2). Additionally, they participated in the Wapato School of language events to teach the natives the Japanese language and heritage (Ancestry® 2). All these events were deliberated to promote diversity and create a society that would cooperate in achieving sustainable development
The life histories of Matsuoka Sugue and Suzuki Alno, captures the reality of an immigrant’s dream and what they experienced when they arrived in the United States. Undeniably, much information is lacking on the experiences of Asian Americans at a personal disclosure. Nevertheless, one can see from the thoughts mentioned above, that though Asian Americans have been disregarded as minority groups, they are an ideal society that holds the vast future of America. Notably, they have an attitude of hard work driven by resilience, and they are less alacritous to participate in trouble. Additionally, they are a “model minority” society that can be described, as the versatile community working to achieve the overall good of the community. In this disposition, Matsuoka Sugue and Suzuki Alno stories represent a tip of the immigrant’siceberg. There is need to dig deep into the life histories of other immigrants to determine the reality of the Asian American Society and how it can shape Americas future.
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