Over 100 Years of Japanese-American History is Now Online

The Rafu Shimpo online archive wasn’t designed for genealogists. You won’t find long lists of names of people. However, it does provide researchers with many first-hand accounts of day-to-day life from Japanese-Americans and their descendants from the early 1900s to today. As such, it can be a valuable tool to learn more about the lives of your Japanese-American ancestors and relatives. And, yes, many names are mentioned within the archive.

The following is a press release written by Rafu Shimpo (羅府新報, the L.A. Japanese Daily News) about the newly-released archive:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, USA, June 12, 2018 — Over 100 years of Japanese-American history is now available online through Rafu Shimpo (羅府新報, the L.A. Japanese Daily News) Digital Archive, a new collection on East View’s Global Press Archive platform.

Founded in 1903 to support the small but growing Japanese community in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles, California, Rafu Shimpo was published daily, with an English-language section added to the Sunday edition in 1926. By the 1940s the newspaper had grown to be the largest-circulation newspaper published in Japanese in the United States.

Once World War II started, Publisher H. Toyosaku Komai was arrested by the FBI on December 7, 1941 and the paper was forced to cease publication. In his absence, his eldest son Akira took charge of the newspaper until Akira and the majority of the Komai family were interned at the Manzanar camp near Granada, Colorado for the remainder of the war.

With Akira’s foresight to hide expensive printing equipment and ensure the rent was paid, the publisher quickly revived the business after the war, and capitalized on being the first Japanese-American newspaper to resume publication in January of 1946. The paper outlasted all its local competitors and grew to become the most important newspaper among Japanese-American communities throughout the United States.

“Rafu Shimpo rests squarely at the scholarly intersection of Japanese history and the Japanese-American émigré community—especially in California, with its unique coverage of local news and obituaries,” said Kent D. Lee, President and CEO of East View Information Services. “This unique resource gives researchers first-hand accounts of day-to-day life from Japanese-Americans and their descendants from the early 1900s to today.”

You can learn more about the  Rafu Shimpo Digital Archive at http://www.eastview.com/files/EVGPARafuShimpo.pdf. Access to the database requires a paid subscription. Contact information to obtain a subscription is given near the bottom of the page at http://www.eastview.com/files/EVGPARafuShimpo.pdf.

2 Comments

The camp known as Manzanar (The Manzanar War Relocation Center) was in California between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence. The Granada War Relocation Center (also known as Camp Amache) was the one near Granada, Colorado.

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Linda Harms Okazaki July 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm

I recently contacted the company to enquire about using the collection. This collection is only available for institutional subscriptions. When I enquired as to the location of institutions who hold this collection, I was informed by East View that NO institutions have purchased this subscription. In other words, as of July 2017, it is not available anywhere. To reiterate what Mr. Lowndes stated, Manzanar and Granada were two entirely separate internment camps run by the War Relocation Authority; Manzanar was in California and Granada was in Colorado.

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