Dear LA Teacher,
I live in Monterey Park and attend Macy Intermediate School. We are studying about Japanese immigration in Social Studies class and I need to write a report using a primary source. Can you give me an idea where I can find one?
Dear Macy Student,
The best place to go for primary sources on Japanese immigration is Little Tokyo, located on 1st Street and San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles. There you’ll learn that Japanese immigration began in the 1860s. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 increased the population of Japanese in Los Angeles to over 5000. They settled in Little Tokyo. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 forcing Little Tokyo residents into interment camps. After the war, few Japanese Americans returned to Little Tokyo, but found homes in nearby communities like Monterey Park. However, Little Tokyo remained their cultural center.
You can find plenty of primary sources about Japanese Americans at many interesting sites in Little Tokyo. First, I suggest you visit The Japanese American National Museum. It is the largest museum of its kind sharing the history of Americans of Japanese decent. It provides a forum for Americans to understand the historical and cultural heritage of Japanese Americans.
The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, founded in 1971, is the largest Asian American cultural center in the United States. It serves the needs of many civic and arts organizations as well as being the point of convergence for Japanese Americans living in Southern California.
You could also find information at The Go for Broke National Monument. It recognizes the sixteen thousand Japanese men of American descent who left their families in internment camps to fight in Europe and the Pacific during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan, Japanese Americans were declared enemy combatants and imprisoned in concentration camps without due process of law. Though these Americans were deprived of their constitutional rights, they served our nation with an “indomitable spirit and uncommon valor.” They not only fought the enemy, they fought to prove their loyalty to their country.
GPSmyCity.com has an app you can download to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod you can listen to about all the sights in Little Tokyo. As you stroll around the community, you can listen to little known facts about the community with directions to get from one sight to another.
Enjoy the slide show I’m attaching of this historic section of Los Angeles.
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