Voices of Chicago

The articles in this series were originally published in Voices of Chicago, the online journal of the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, which has been a Discover Nikkei Participating Organization since December 2004.

Voices of Chicago is a collection of first-person narratives about the experiences of people of Japanese descent living in Chicago. The community is composed of three waves of immigration, and their descendants: The first, about 300 people, came to Chicago around the time of the Columbian Exposition in 1899. The second, and largest, group is descended from 30,000 who came to Chicago directly from the internment camps after World War II. Called the “ReSettlers,” they created a community built around social service organizations, Buddhist and Christian churches and small businesses. The third, more recent, group are Japanese nationals who came to Chicago, beginning in the 1980s, as artists and students and remained. A fourth, non-immigrant, group are Japanese business executives and their families who live in Chicago for extended periods, sometimes permanently.

Chicago has always been a place where people can re-create themselves, and where diverse ethnic communities live and work together. Voices of Chicago tells the stories of members of each of these four groups, and how they fit into the mosaic of a great city.

Visit the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society website >>


community en

Census 2000 Portrait of Japanese Americans in Metropolitan Chicago: A Portrait of Japanese Americans in the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Compared with the West, South, or Northeast regions in the US, the Midwest region has both the smallest Asian American population and the smallest Japanese American population. However, nationally Illinois has the sixth largest Japanese Americans population (27,702 individuals) and is the top state within the Midwest.

Census 2000 was the first to collect "racial" data that allows for multiethnic and multiracial self-identification with the instruction, "Mark one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be." As seen in Figure 1, we now have a more complete picture of the evolving Japanese American community ...

Read more