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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Japanese Christians in Chicago

Chapter 2: Misaki Shimazu — Birth of the Japanese Christian Community in Chicago

According to Misaki Shimazu, there were four stages of activity among the Japanese Christians in Chicago: the Fujita era, the Baptist days, the Confusion period, and the Separation and Independence era.1 The first period, the Fujita era, was from July 1899 to April 1903, when Toshiro Fujita was the Japanese Consul in Chicago. A few Japanese met at Consul Fujita’s home twice a month to study Christianity. Consul Fujita was a Christian2 and he managed all of the correspondence of these Japanese Christians.

Shimazu named the second period the Baptist days after the founding of the Japanese Baptist …

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Japanese Christians in Chicago

Chapter 1: Introduction

It is well known that prewar Chicago had no “Japan town.” Was it simply because the Japanese population before 1940 was too small? Or was there a specific reason that Chicago did not establish a center for Japanese immigrants?

Jesse F. Steiner spent seven years (1905-1912) as a teacher at North Japan College in Sendai.1 He was subsequently trained under Robert Park and lectured in sociology at the University of Chicago in 1915 and 1916.2 In his thesis, The Japanese Invasion: A Study in the Psychology of Interracial Contacts, Steiner wrote:

An individual alone is not the same …

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Toyokichi Iyenaga: Japanese Publicist in Chicago - Part 3

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With a new sense of confidence, Iyenaga became more aggressive in negotiating his contract renewals with the University of Chicago and made the following demands: “that between Oct 1st and June 23rd each year the University shall have exclusive control of my time, with the annual salary of $3000. I beg, however, to attach to this acceptance, the following reservation to wit: that the University will commission me this year, or the next, to visit for the period of three months or so, Japan, Corea and Manchuria in order to study the recent conditions therein, the …

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Toyokichi Iyenaga: Japanese Publicist in Chicago - Part 2

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In early 1901, Toyokichi Iyenaga received a letter from Edmond J. James, Professor of Public Administration and Director of the University Extension Division at the University of Chicago,1 inquiring about Iyenaga’s plan for his U.S. tour.2


3. Toyokichi Iyenaga

Iyenaga was born in 1862 to a samurai family in Fukuoka. He was taught English at missionary schools in Kumamoto and Kyoto and came to the U.S. to study at Oberlin College in November 1884. At Oberlin, Iyenaga planned lecture tours with his classmate, John R. Commons. “Their scheme was to promote a series of …

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Toyokichi Iyenaga: Japanese Publicist in Chicago - Part 1

Introduction: Chautauqua

“Know Japan! Understand Japan!” Educating Americans about Japan was one of the most important roles assigned to Japanese immigrants, especially for those who were college graduates, equipped with near-native English fluency, and had arrived in the U.S. over 120 years ago. Their strong will and zeal, which enabled them to become professional lecturers and to stand up before crowds of strangers and give speeches on Japan and the Japanese, must have been unimaginably grand in those days, compared to our current computer controlled age, when so much information can circulate instantly to all points of the world. To …

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