Ichioka Response Unit
Thearticle “Amerika Nadeshiko: Japanese Immigrant Women in the UnitedStates, 1900-1924” by Yuji Ichioka discusses the plight of JapaneseAmerican women from the turn of the 20thcentury. A combination of governance an cultural differences betweenJapan and the US contributed to a unique experience of Japanesefemales in America. The women were victims of their own culture,American culture, Japanese government, American government and eventheir husbands. Such factors that victimized these women contributedto a small number of Japanese female immigrants in the US in theearly 20thcentury. Their experiences offer important themes in the history ofimmigration, culture, economic development, rights of women, cultureconflict, health, social matters and relations. The article also laysemphasis on marriage relations in the Japanese culture and howimmigration into a new land and a new culture affected Japanesemarriages and perhaps the growth in the Japanese-American population.This is because many marriages comprising of women sourced from Japanended up in separation or abandonment affecting fertility rate.
Theissues presented in the paper are very relevant to modern societiesin this age of globalization. They indicate that culture and socialpractices from one region to another vary widely and hence they arelikely to affect immigrants in a new country. The culture shock, poorcommunication and social shock that met women immigrants in the USserves to highlight the role of modern information technology andglobalization in homogenizing cultures. This is because it is easierto learn about a destination before travelling there courtesy of theinternet. Again, as it is today, financial concerns contributedheavily to immigration. Comparative historical studies, as suggestedby Skrentny (2008), have shown that race, gender and ethnicity havebeen used to control labor movement, create social meaning and evenassign resources. This coincides with the fact that Japanese menimmigrated in search of better economic opportunities while womenfollowed their men as subordinate members of the family. Lack ofinvolvement in the labor market perhaps left these women idle,lonely, and vulnerable to cheating hence the high incidences ofkakeochi and divorce. Some narrations of cheating in the text arevery humorous which makes the article very interesting to readbesides offering important information.
Fromreading the article, I have learned several important things. One ofthem is that it is not correct to blame high number of divorces andseparations in the US women empowerment and modern lifestyle. Thefact that cheating was so rampant in the Japanese immigrantpopulation among women perceived as subordinates shows that otherfactors were at play then and now. Today, high cases of infidelityare even blamed on information technology, mobile phones and socialmedia which have made it easier for people to have relationships morediscretely. Another thing that I have learnt is that the US hasmaintained an immigration policy from the 19th century that breaksfamilies and has only recently considered repealing it. I feel thatit is important for sociologists to be consulted more widely indrafting immigration policies to preserve the basic unit of society,family. Additionally, the culture shock and different lifestyles thatJapanese women met in the US could have triggered cheating as a wayof escape. I tend to think that the same process might be at playwhere immigrants result to delinquency, extremism and terrorism asform of escape form unaccommodating culture and lifestyle. This isbecause in most countries, immigrant population comprises a highlydisproportionate number of incarcerated offenders.
Ichioka,Y. (1980). AmerikaNadeshiko: Japanese Immigrant Women In the United States, 1900-
1924.Pacific Historical Review 49(2) 339-357.
Skrentny,J. (2008). Culture and Race/Ethnicity: Bolder, Deeper, and Broader.TheAnnals of the
AmericanAcademy of Political and Social Science619 59-77.