Chris Suh

Chris Suh is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University, specializing in Asian American history and US-East Asia relations. He is completing a dissertation on the intertwined history of US domestic race relations and US foreign relations with Japan and Korea. A chapter of this dissertation has been published in article form in the Journal of American History (June 2017). He is a past winner of the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) best graduate student paper prize (2014).

Updated February 2018

politics en

K.K. Kawakami, Cosmopolitan Issei Writer

One intriguing aspect of Japanese immigrant experience before World War II was the diverse intellectual life of community members. Although most early Issei were farmers or laborers, a significant group of writers and thinkers emerged among them. These people found work as Buddhist priests, school teachers, or newspaper editors within Japanese communities.

As Eiichiro Azuma shows, they wrote primarily in Japanese, identified with the old country, and were heavily invested in building a “shin nippon,” a new Japan in the New World. Yet overlapping with them was a selection of students, artists, and professionals who might be termed “cosmopolitan Issei ...

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