Takako Day

Takako Day, originally from Kobe, Japan, is an award-winning freelance writer and independent researcher who has published seven books and hundreds of articles in the Japanese and English languages. Her latest book, SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME: The Moral Dilemma of Kibei No No Boys in World War Two Incarceration Camps is her first book in English. 

Relocating from Japan to Berkeley in 1986 and working as a reporter at the Nichibei Times in San Francisco first opened Day’s eyes to social and cultural issues in multicultural America. Since then, she has written from the perspective of a cultural minority for more than 30 years on such subjects as Japanese and Asian American issues in San Francisco, Native American issues in South Dakota (where she lived for seven years) and most recently (since 1999), the history of little known Japanese Americans in pre-war Chicago. Her piece on Michitaro Ongawa is born of her love of Chicago.

Updated December 2016

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The Chicago Shoyu Story—Shinsaku Nagano and the Japanese Entrepreneurs - Part 3

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6. Shoyu forever

In August 1907, the year that the Takeda store came to Chicago, the Japanese YMCA, which was later directed by Rev. Misaki Shimazu, opened a dormitory for Japanese students at 3036 Groveland Avenue.1 Komataro Katataye, another minister who was educated at the University of Chicago like Shimazu, had converted his home at 2938 Prairie to a lodging called the Japanese Mission Home for Japanese students in 1906. The Japanese Mission Home later grew to become the Japanese Christian Association at 4352 Cottage Grove, which was run by Shigeji Tani and had lodging facilities ...

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The Chicago Shoyu Story—Shinsaku Nagano and the Japanese Entrepreneurs - Part 2

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3. Shoyu manufacturers in Chicago: Shinsaku Nagano 

Hiroichiro Maedako, a socialist writer who lived in Chicago from 1907 to 1915, described Japanese production of shoyu in Chicago in his novel, Dai Bohu-U Jidai as follows. “Do you know that guy, Kimura? He has an office downtown and is in the food business. Kimura says he has good news and asks me, ‘don’t you want in on this?’ A lot of Japanese shoyu is now being sold in the US, but he says that shoyu can easily be made without using soybeans. To make a long story ...

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The Chicago Shoyu Story—Shinsaku Nagano and the Japanese Entrepreneurs - Part 1

1. Introduction

In a short story titled “On January First” in his book, American Story, Kafu Nagai depicted a Japanese immigrant in New York who declined to eat a Japanese feast with his countrymen. His reason for declining was that Japanese food reminded him of his poor mother who had died in misery. How painful it is to imagine the depth of sorrow of a person who had to distance himself from his family history by abandoning Japanese food.

Did he mean to reject even “comfort taste” such as shoyu? Shoyu has the magical power to change the taste of ...

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Suspicious Points of Contact in Pre-War Chicago

The Japanese Consulate and Naka & Pearl Nakane - Part 2

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Naka and Pearl Nakane and Chicago

Did Naka Nakane ever come to Chicago? How much political influence did he have in Illinois? Did the Japanese consulate in Chicago somehow get involved in Nakane’s “black maneuver” in the Midwest? All that can be said at this point is that two documents purporting to be pledges from the Development of Our Own were found among others in a search of the former Japanese consulate in Chicago.1

The Development of Our Own was incorporated as a non-profit organization in Illinois on October 1, 1936. Its address was listed ...

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Suspicious Points of Contact in Pre-War Chicago

The Japanese Consulate and Naka & Pearl Nakane - Part 1

Introduction

On January 30, 1941, a long telegram was sent from Yosuke Matsuoka, a minister of foreign affairs, to Japanese embassy in Washington and forwarded to consulates in the US, including the one in Chicago. The telegram instructed that the ministry had changed the emphasis of its publicity and propaganda work to strengthen intelligence work in the US.

One of the programs Matsuoka mapped out was to “make investigations of all anti-Semitism, communism, movements of Negroes, and labor movements” and to utilize US citizens “of foreign extraction (other than Japanese), aliens (other than Japanese), communists, Negroes, labor union members and ...

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