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We've been here before: ‘America First’ and a Century of Defending Japanese language learning

Colloquium | September 21 | 4 p.m. | East Asian Library, Art History Seminar Room


Noriko Asato, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)


Noriko Asato will explore the efforts to control Japanese language schools in California a century ago as part of anti-immigrant nativism. This presentation develops from her book, “Teaching Mikadoism,” which looked at how nativists and Japanese Americans battled over their identity and education in Hawaii and the West Coast. Her presentation briefly explores how Japanese Americans resisted, and eventually won a Supreme Court decision that found such school control legislation unconstitutional. Even though Japanese Americans won in Court, her presentation also demonstrates the danger of an unsubstantiated nativist narrative, which demonized Japanese Americans and helped contribute to the unconstitutional “internment” of 120,000 Nikkei during World War II.
This brief history of the Japanese American experience highlights the importance for immigrants and ethnic groups in America to have agency for their own voices. It also warns us to be better news consumers.

Noriko Asato, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of Hawaii Manoa. Her research areas include Intellectual Freedom, East Asian Librarianship and Asian Informatics.


cjs-events@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3415