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Trans-Pacific Japanese American StudiesConversations on Race and Racializations$
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Yasuko Takezawa and Gary Y. Okihiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847586

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847586.001.0001

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Americanization and Beika

Americanization and Beika

Gender and Racialization of the Issei Community in California before World War II

(p.161) Chapter 7 Americanization and Beika
Trans-Pacific Japanese American Studies

Yuko Matsumoto

University of Hawai'i Press

The Americanization movement in the early twentieth century tried to redefine the qualifications for full membership within the nation. In the same period, the anti-Asian movement flourished. Responding actively to the discourses of anti-Japanese (and Asian) movements, Japanese immigrants tried to prove their eligibility for full membership in the U.S. nation by following their own interpretation of Americanization, or Beika (米化‎) in Japanese. The ideas of Beika were based on idealized Japanese virtues, as well as on what was required by the Americanization movement. Even though they used the parallel terms in ideas of Beika, however, the gender discourses such as virtues of Yamatonadeshiko and the definition of family highlighted the difference between the views of Americanization and those of Beika despite their similar intention. This gap in perception might have reinforced the racialized and gendered stereotypes on both sides and hindered mutual understanding before World War II.

Keywords:   Americanization, Beika, anti-Japanese movement, gender, American way of life, family, race, the nation-state, picture marriage

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