Japanese Graves, Vacaville
A trip to the agricultural farms of Northern California reveals the area's strong Japanese heritage, present and past. One of the first Japanese groups to arrive was the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony which brought mulberry trees, silk cocoons, tea plants, bamboo roots, and other products in 1869. By 1910 there were more 41,000 Japanese in California, most lived in San Francisco but many others became farmers in the Sacramento region. Soon new anti-Japanese acts began to limit immigration. Legal loopholes in these acts led to the rise of arranged marriages where most newly-arrived Japanese 'picture brides' saw their new husbands for the first time in San Francisco's Angel Island detention barracks.

In was also during this time that Japanese began to buy property and establish farms, vineyards, and orchards. 1920-1942 was a time of growth for Japanese Americans as they became important producers and growers of California crops, raising everything from strawberries to rice. But in 1942 they were forced off their land and incarcerated in thirteen fenced and guarded internment camps. After the war one-third or more of the Japanese population did not return to their original communities. The 1950s saw almost a doubling of the Japanese population in California and the growth of political/social organizations, Japanese-language schools, and churches. Today there are about 1.2 million Japanese Nikkei, emigrants from Japan and their descendants, living in America.

TRIVIA QUESTION: What is the only country that has more Nikkei than the United States (no Googling)?


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