restricted background for the relocation program prepared for information of the staff of the war relocation authority not for publication japanese migration to the united states ¦ • as every schoolboy knows japan was a deliberately insulated island empire — almost completely cut off from the outs id«3 world—when commodore perry made his first vis it there in 1853 in fact at that time all japanese subjects were forbidden to leave the empire except under special permit on penalty of death the first japanese to arrive in this country therefore were shipwrecked sailors and occasional stowaways on foreign vessels as late as 1870 the total japanese population in the united states was only 55 following a japanese revolution in 1868 however contacts with the outside rorld slowly began to develop and the stringent regulations governing emigration were gradually relaxed the first major movement of japanese people to a foreign land started in tho 1870fs when hawaiian sugar planters seeking a new source of cheap labor began importing farm workers on a contract labor basis from japan into the islands throughout the 1880 s as increasing numbers of japanese farm boys responded to the lure of higher wages than they had ever known the movement to hawaii continued at an accelerating pace meanwhile some of the japanese began to hear of even richer work opportunities that were commencing to develop on the west coast of the united states throughout the 189o*s several thousands migrated from hawaii to tho mainland while others came over directly from jcrpan then in 1898 hawaii was annexed as a territory of the united states and importation of labor on a contract basis was automatically abolished free immigration however continued in full swing in the first decade of the present century more than 50,000 japanese immigrants arrived on our shores from japan and another 37,000 came in by way of hawaii •:..'.. 6-1880-bu-cos-wp .
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