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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MUFA Day#24: Golden Week and Aloha Gozaimasu

This is Golden Week in Japan, essentially, a period when many travel.  Why?  The government linked a bunch of holidays together to give workers time off:

  • April 29:  Showa Day--birthday of former Emperor Showa, or Hirohito, who passed away in 1989 (at one time this was Grennery Day).  He reigned from 1926 until his death, and was the emperor during World War II.
  • May 3:  Constitution Day:  in 1947 the new post-war constitution began.
  • May 4:  Greenery Day, dedicated to the environment and nature.
  • May 5:  Children's Day, although more for boys, when colored carps are flown.

Unfortunately, 2014 is not a good year, for the big period is only a four-day weekend from May 3-6.  Next year there will be a five-day holiday from May 2 to  May 6.  Hawaii tourism counts on a good Golden Week.

About the link between Japan and Hawaii, the average weight of the Sunday New York Times is 4.2 pounds.  The Japan Times on Sunday goes in just the opposite direction, becoming a small newsletter, mostly reviewing the past week and weighing maybe 4 ounces.  A featured article this past Sunday was entitled Aloha Gozaimasu, providing some history and insights on the Japanese in Hawaii.

Nothing particularly surprising, and there seems to be a link with The Japanese in Hawaii:  a historical and demographic perspective:
    • From 1603, the Tokugawa clan shoguns isolated Japan.
    • 1868:  148 Japanese men, mainly from around Tokyo, arrived in Honolulu in the first year of the Meiji Era, to work in sugar cane fields.  Conditions were deplorable, but most survived and married Hawaiian women.

    • In 1885 the Emperor Meiji (right) and King Kalakaua worked out another arrangement, and 100,000 Japanese, mostly from Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures, came to Hawaii, but most married picture brides from home.
    • There is some detail, in particular, about the arrivals from Okinawa.
    • From 1868 to 1924, 213,752 came from Japan.
    • The U.S. Immigration Act of 1924 ended Japanese immigration, but by 1930 42.7% of residents in Hawaii were Japanese.
    • At the time of Pearl Harbor in 1941, 38% were of Japanese extraction.
    • After World War II, the GI Bill of Rights and shifting attitudes changed the nature of the State from a Republican hegemony to total Democratic Party control, where those with Japan origins, pretty much ran Hawaii, particularly in politics and education.
    • It was only in 1952 that first generation Japanese, Isseis, could become naturalized U.S. citizens.  My mother was one of them.  My father was born on Kauai.
    • Today, Japanese make up 17% of the state population.

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