Notes: A work on Japanese American history and culture, especially in California. Kawamura frames the Japanese American experience in terms that parallel the heroic frontier and exploration tales of Western American history. The author was a prolific writer on Japanese American history and taught in a Japanese-language school in Isleton, California, a small, predominantly Asian American town in the Sacramento River delta. Of note is the part this book played in popularizing the legend of Okei-san, credited as the first respectable Japanese woman to die in California, in 1871 (the previous women who died in the United States had been prostitutes). Her grave, in El Dorado County, is now the centerpiece of a park.
Kawamura "became known for his expertise on Okei's story, popularized her account within the immigrant society... He exalted her as a source of the pioneer spirit for all Issei women. The significance of Okei's grave, according to him, lay in its 'spiritual effect that runs like an electric current through the hearts of those who stand before it.' It could not but revive a sense of history in the people and invite them to look back at their own experiences as pioneers on the western frontier."*
This book was self-published by the author in Tokyo and released to the public on November 1, 1930. The edition present here, possibly printed from the same plates, was issued by a Tokyo publisher and released on December 6, 1930. The publisher specialized in nationalist material (and was forced to disband by the American occupation forces in 1946**). Prior to the Second World War, the Japanese government liked to frame Japanese emigration to the US and other countries as part of a colonization effort and the publication of this particular book in both the US and Japan suggests a propaganda element to the text. Undoubtedly other books were issued for both Japanese and Japanese American audiences, but this is the first such example encountered by your cataloguer.
504 pages. Text in Japanese.
Not in Buried Past of the JANM bibliography.
OCLC: 674046521 (Japan)
* "became known" Quoted in Eiichiro Azuma, "The Politics of Transnational History Making: Japanese Immigrants on the Western 'Frontier,' 1927-1941", in The Journal of American History, March 2003.
** "forced to disband" Publishing life of Katsuya Uemura, Vice President of Daiichi Koronsha, https://jyunku.hatenablog.com/entry/20110922/p1
Edition + Condition: First Japanese edition. A very good or better copy in the original printed box.
Publication: Tokyo: Katsuya Uemura, Advanced Publishing (上村勝彌, 先進社), 1930 (Showa 5).
Item No: #307838