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Americans in Japan

americans in japan during wwii, americans in japanese prisons
Americans in Japan 在日アメリカ人/在日米国人, Zainichi Amerikajin / Zainichi Beikokujin comprise people from the United States residing in Japan and their descendants Larger numbers of Americans began going to Japan after the 1854 Convention of Kanagawa, under which Commodore Matthew C Perry forced Japan to open to international trade2 As of 2012, Americans formed 24% of the total population of registered foreigners in Japan, with 51,321 US citizens residing there, according to the statistics of Japan's Ministry of Justice3 This made them the sixth-largest group of foreigners; they had formerly been the fifth-largest, but were surpassed by Peruvians in 20004


  • 1 History
  • 2 Health issues
  • 3 Education
  • 4 Notable people
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 Further reading


The first Americans to come to Japan actually predated Perry by nearly six decades In 1791, two merchant vessels from Massachusetts, the Lady Washington and the Grace, landed at Kushimoto, near Osaka, under the pretense that they were taking refuge from a storm They began negotiations with Japanese authorities there about the potential of opening trade, but made no headway, and departed after eleven days2 Another early American resident of Japan who predated Perry's arrival was Ranald MacDonald 1824–1894, a man of Scottish and Chinook descent, and the first to teach the English language in Japan

Especially prior to World War II, it was a common practice for issei Japanese Americans to send their nisei children to Japan for education Known as Kibei 帰米, they often found themselves the subject of discrimination from their classmates in Japan during their studies; upon their return to the United States, their Japanese American peers also derided them as "too Japanesey" for their alleged authoritarian mindset and pro-Japanese militarist sympathies56

Health issuesedit

Americans in Japan overall had a similar pattern of mortality to Americans at large, according to one 1986 study; however, American women in Japan showed a somewhat elevated propensity toward strokes7


American international schools in Japan:

  • American School in Japan Tokyo
  • Hokkaido International School

Schools for dependents of US military personnel:

  • Kadena High School
  • Kubasaki High School

Notable peopleedit

This is a list of current and former American citizens whose notability is related to their residence in Japan

  • Tarō Akebono born Chad Haakeo Rowan, first foreign-born sumo wrestler ever to reach Yokozuna rank8
  • Billy Blanks, fitness guru and martial artist
  • Thane Camus, television personality
  • Dante Carver, actor
  • Kent Derricott, television personality
  • Leah Dizon, singer and model
  • Marty Friedman, guitarist and TV personality
  • William Gorham, early-to-mid 20th century engineer9
  • Patrick Harlan, television personality, better known as "Pakkun"
  • Daniel Kahl, television personality
  • Donald Keene, Japanologist, scholar, teacher, writer, translator and interpreter of Japanese literature and culture, who is now a naturalized citizen of Japan
  • Carolyn Kawasaki, model and television personality
  • Bernard Krisher, Journalist, publisher and philanthropist First to interview Tenno Showa Emperor Hirohito in a one-on-one interview in 1975
  • Konishiki Yasokichi born Saleva'a Fuauli Atisano'e, former sumo wrestler and the first foreign-born wrestler to reach ozeki rank
  • Tony László, freelance journalist, activist, and leading character of My Darling is a Foreigner manga series and movie
  • Dave Spector, TV commentator
  • Takamiyama Daigorō born Jesse James Wailani Kuhaulua, former sumo wrestler and the first foreign-born wrestler to win the top division championship
  • Hikaru Utada, singer
  • Walter Tenney Carleton, International businessman and founding director of NEC

See alsoedit

  • Japan–United States relations
  • Occupation of Japan
    • Amerasian, a person born in Asia to a US military father and an Asian mother
  • Gaijin, the Japanese term for foreigners


  1. ^ "Table 101 Registered Foreigners by Nationality: 1950-2006" PDF Ministry of Justice, Annual Report of Statistics on Legal Migrants National Institute of Population and Social Security Research 2008 Retrieved December 11, 2012 
  2. ^ a b Mitarai, Shoji, An Exploration of the History of Cross-cultural Negotiation: The First US-Japan Trade Negotiation before Commodore Perry's Arrival, Working Papers, Social Science Research Network, SSRN 602701  
  3. ^ "Table 101 Registered Foreigners by Nationality: 1950-2006" PDF Ministry of Justice, Annual Report of Statistics on Legal Migrants National Institute of Population and Social Security Research 2008 Retrieved December 11, 2012 
  4. ^ 平成19年末現在における外国人登録者統計について Regarding statistics on registered foreigners as at the end of 2007 PDF in Japanese Japan: Japanese Ministry of Justice June 2008 Archived from the original PDF on June 24, 2008 
  5. ^ Takahashi, Jere 1998, Nisei/Sansei: Shifting Japanese American Identities and Politics, Temple University Press, pp 65–84, ISBN 1-56639-659-X 
  6. ^ Yamashiro, Masahiro 1995, 帰米二世―解体していく「日本人」, Gogatsu Shobo, ISBN 4-7727-0222-9 
  7. ^ Kono, Suminori; R Isa, Abdul; Ogimoto, Itsuro; Yoshimura, Takesumi 1987, "Cause-Specific Mortality among Koreans, Chinese, and Americans in Japan, 1973-1982", International Journal of Epidemiology, Oxford University Press, 16 3: 415–419, PMID 3667040, doi:101093/ije/163415 
  8. ^ Lewis, Ferd 2006-07-02, "Akebono", Honolulu Advertiser, retrieved 2007-05-25 
  9. ^ Kawakami, Kenjiro 2002 "William R Gorham 1888-1949 and Japanese Industry" International Conference on Business & Technology Transfer Retrieved 2013-05-08 

Further readingedit

  • Black, J S 1988, "Work role transitions: A study of American expatriates in Japan", Journal of International Business Studies, 27 9: 277–293 
  • Mateu, Milagros, "Reflexivity as a Facilitator to Adjusting to a New Culture: American Expatriates in Japan", Journal of Learning, 12 12: 55–62, retrieved 2008-04-11 
  • Yamakawa, Ryuichi 1992, "The applicability of Japanese labor and employment laws to Americans working in Japan", San Diego Law Review 29: 175–201 
  • Yamashita, Sayoko July 1996, "Ethnographic Report of an African American Student in Japan", Journal of Black Studies, Sage Publications, 26 6: 735–747, JSTOR 2784863, doi:101177/002193479602600605 

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