History of Seattle Nikkei Immigrants from The North American Times

This series explores the history of pre-war Seattle Nikkei immigrants by researching old articles from the online archives of The North American Times, a joint project between the Hokubei Hochi [North American Post] Foundation and the University of Washington (UW) Suzzallo Library.

*The English version of this series is a collaboration between Discover Nikkei and The North American Post, Seattle’s bilingual community newspaper.

* * * * *

The North American Times

The newspaper was first printed in Seattle on September 1, 1902, by publisher Kiyoshi Kumamoto from Kagoshima, Kyushu. At its peak, it had correspondents in Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Spokane, Vancouver, and Tokyo, with a daily circulation of about 9,000 copies. Following the start of World War II, Sumio Arima, the publisher at the time, was arrested by the FBI. The paper was discontinued on March 14, 1942, when the incarceration of Japanese American families began. After the war, the North American Times was revived as The North American Post.

community en ja

Chapter 3—Seattle Development and Flourishing Japantown

In chapter 2, I introduced Manjiro Morita and Masajiro Furuya, who moved to Seattle around 1890 and were referred to as the “founding” Japanese. This chapter explores articles about Seattle’s rapid growth in and after 1917 and the flourishing of Japantown.

Rapid Growth of Seattle

Since World War I, the rapid growth of the military and the shipbuilding industries had turned Seattle into a significantly busy trading port, especially in the years after 1917. Its trade value (exports and imports) was the ninth in the states for four consecutive years from 1912 to 1916, but jumped to second place, …

continue a ler

community en ja

Chapter 2—Seattle Japanese Pioneers

The first chapter featured articles related to the early days of Seattle from around 1850. Here, the focus is Japanese immigrants who first went to Seattle around 1890.

The Pioneers of Japanese Businesses

Around 1890, Japanese people began landing in Seattle and starting various businesses. These individuals laid the foundations for later Japanese society in the area. The 1928 edition of the Hokubei Nenkan (North American Yearbook) introduces the pioneers of Japanese businesses in Seattle. Manjiro Morita and Masajiro Furuya are two who are profiled in The North American Times about their great achievements.

Manjiro Morita

In the November 2, …

continue a ler

community en ja

Chapter 1—19th Century Seattle and Nikkei Immigrants

The North American Times is a Japanese newspaper that was published in Seattle from 1902 until shortly after the United States’ entry into World War II. A microfilm archive is kept at the University of Washington (UW) Library. Scott Edward Harrison was a librarian at the East Asian Library, UW. In 2004, he researched the newspaper and archived what is available of it. From June 2019 to May 2020, the author serialized “Yoemon Shinmasu – My Grandfather’s Life in Seattle” in both English and Japanese on Discover Nikkei and the North American Post, the successor to the …

continue a ler


19th century business community Furuya Shoten immigrants Immigrants issei Issei Japanese communities Japanese immigrants Japantown Manjiro Morita Masajiro Furuya North American Times Seattle