Sample Article Review Paper on “The Early Issei”

Summary

In the article, “The Early Issei”, the author seeks to narrate the experiences of first generation Japanese migrant (Issei) workers and the second generation (Nisei). The author recounts the role of Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s 1853 journey to Tokyo, Japan in the 1868 Meiji Restoration. The author argues that the journey played a vital role in opening up Japan to the world and the subsequent migration of Japanese laborers and students to the United States to seek work and education opportunities, respectively. The article gives the chronology of events that followed the migration including the growing number of aging unmarried Japanese men, the picture brides, the growing popularity of Japan towns and the subsequent anti-Asian hostilities that led to the eventual passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 which halted the emigration of Japanese to the U.S. The article moves beyond the economic and social experiences of the Issei and the Nisei to highlight their cultural, religious and political experiences right before the Pearl Harbor attacks. The author also argues that the migration of the Japanese to the U.S. played a vital role in the introduction of new fishing and farming methods as well as crops.

Analysis

The article, “The Early Issei” gives a compelling chronology of Japanese migration into the U.S. using simple and easy to understand language. The author makes reference to well-known historical events such as the Meiji Restoration, expulsion of Chinese immigrants, the passing of immigrant laws stemming from anti-Asian hostilities and the emergence of Japan towns. Such use of familiar evidences to ground arguments fosters greater understanding of the author’s arguments and thought process. The topical coverage of the issue also makes it easy to understand. However, the author did not cite any sources which raises the credibility questions. This is despite the fact that some of the issues highlighted are in the public domain hence considered public knowledge.

Questions 

  1. Why was the American public especially those who perpetuated the Asian-hostilities comfortable with the Japanese immigrants working in some professions and industries and not others?
  2. How effective was the push by the Japanese against the pervasive ant-Asian discrimination they faced?