The museum is in the town of Hansville, situated in
the peninsula of the Puget Sound. You could come here from the south by
driving through Tacoma. However, if you are from Seattle, or further north,
I advise you to take the Seattle-Bainbridge or Edmonds-Kingston ferry
to save time. The jumbo ferry crosses the beautiful Puget Sound in approximately
30 minutes. It is 450 feet long and has a loading capacity of 2500 passengers
and over 200 cars. They have about 20 sailings from early morning to midnight.
It is then a 40 minute drive to get to the museum from Bainbridge, or
20 minutes from Kingston.
After my retirement in September of 2004, I started to arrange and display
my collection of Japan-America relations and Issei immigration so that
I could share them with people who might be interested in this field.
In commemoration of the bi-centennial of the U.S., I decided to display
my collection and opened the museum in 1976 at the Salinas Buddhist Temple
in California. Since then, the volume has increased considerably, but
the present building is smaller, so I am afraid it may be a little too
small to be called a museum in the traditional sense.
On July 4, 1976, this nation joyfully observed its bi-centennial celebration.
The main reason for the opening of the Issei Pioneer Museum
was to recognize/honor the contributions of the Japanese Americans, in
the history of the U.S. towards the prosperity of present day America.
Since it was the first Nikkei museum in the country, congratulatory messages
were received from President Ford, Premier Miki of Japan, Gov. Brown of
California and many others. However, the hall that housed the museum was
taken down to be replaced by a new gymnasium in 1994, and I was transferred
to Seattle in 1995, and to Mexico City in 2000. These have contributed
the delay of the re-opening.
When I arrived in the U.S. in December of 1956 (Sho-wa 31). some of the
Isseis were quite old. However, many of the men were still acting as if
they were still in the prime of their lives, and most women were still
full of spirit. I have been associated with these Isseis ever since coming
to America, practicing as an overseas minister of Nishi Honganji and served
nearly 40 years at Buddhist temples in California, Oregon and Washington.
I shared many fond memories with them and also conducted many last rites
for them. Now, all of the Isseis are gone, and many Niseis are leaving
us. In respect to the name of this museum, you will find many items associated
with Niseis as well, since they are their sons and daughters.
Japanese emigration to the mainland U.S. began around 1880 (Meiji 13);
about 130 years ago. It has been a long journey though it seems just short
years ago. Those who have interest and/or would like to know more about
the history of Nikkeis and U.S.-Japan relations, please come and visit
us and get a feel for the Japanese American pioneers.
In Gassho, Yoshiaki G. Takemura
- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Issei (first generation) is a Japanese language term used in countries
in North America, South America and Australia to specify the Japanese
people first to immigrate. Their children born in the new country are
referred to as Nisei (second generation), and their grandchildren are
Sansei (third generation). All them come from the numbers "one, two,
three" in the Japanese language, as Japanese numerals are "ichi,
period - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Sho-wa period (Sho-wa jidai, literally "period of enlightened
peace"), or Sho-wa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding
to the reign of Emperor Sho-wa (Hirohito), from December 25, 1926 to January
period - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Meiji period (Meiji jidai), or Meiji era denotes the period in Japanese
history during the 45-year reign of the Meiji Emperor (from 23 October
1868 to 30 July 1912). During this time, Japan began its modernization
and rose to world power status. Meiji means 'Enlightened Rule'.
diaspora - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Japanese diaspora, and its individual members known as Nikkei,
are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants to other parts
of the world. Emigration from Japan first happened and was recorded as
early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass
phenomenon until the Meiji Era, when Japanese began to go to North America,
beginning in 1897 with 35 emigrants to Mexico and later Latin America,
beginning in 1899 with 790 emigrants to Peru. There was also significant
emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial
period; however, most such emigrants repatriated to Japan after the end
of World War II in Asia.
Nikkei populations in: - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United States 1,200,000
China (PRC) 115,000
United Kingdom 51,000
Taiwan (ROC) 16,000
South Korea 15,000