Brian Deutsch

Brian Deutsch works at the University of Pittsburgh and is an occasional freelance writer. His articles on Korean culture and tourism have appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Gwangju News, and Busan Haps. Now taking a wider look at Asia and its connections to his hometown, he currently covers those intersections on the blog PennsylvAsia.

(Updated March 2013)

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"Prejudices don't fall off like an old coat": more on Japanese-Americans relocated to Pittsburgh

In March we looked at length at the history of Japanese American forced relocation to Pittsburgh, where an old North Side orphanage was to house families brought from the west coast to western Pennsylvania to work. The proposal was protested by North Side residents, though ultimately only two families stayed there in mid-August, 1945. There were letters to the editor criticizing Pittsburghers’ attitudes toward these relocated citizens, but the newspapers didn’t devote space to the uprooted Japanese Americans themselves. On August 11, 1945, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talked with a few living in the area for the page three piece ...

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Japanese-American detainees to "feel the warm friendliness of the people of Pittsburgh"; papers tell story of wartime Japanese-American relocation to Pittsburgh - Part 2

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Yes, imagine using an orphanage as a “large multiple-unit dwelling.” As we find in that article and in others around the same time, nothing approaching the 100 Nisei ever made it to the Gusky Orphanage. Actually, accounts from July 1945 only put two families there—a family of nine and a family of 12. The first didn’t arrive until August 18th, and the second on August 19th. The second—the Fujihara family—was out the next day. “Jap-Americans Quickly Find Work on Farm,” was the Pittsburgh Press headline on August 20, 1945.

The twelve Fujiharas, who ...

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Japanese-American detainees to "feel the warm friendliness of the people of Pittsburgh"; papers tell story of wartime Japanese-American relocation to Pittsburgh - Part 1

The archives of local newspapers trace the brief history of Pittsburgh’s involvement in the imprisonment and forced relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II. These articles show that an old orphanage on Perrysville Avenue in Perry North doubled as a temporary home for Japanese-Americans forced out of their homes elsewhere. It was a source of some controversy, mostly because neighbors were afraid Japanese American laborers would damage property values, though the program of incarceration and forced relocation ended before Pittsburgh could fulfill its potential as a home for 100 to 200 families.

Prior to anything in the Pittsburgh ...

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