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Creating the Nisei MarketRace and Citizenship in Hawaii's Japanese American Consumer Culture$
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Shiho Imai

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833329

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833329.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Creating the Nisei Market

Shiho Imai

University of Hawai'i Press

This book explores how Japanese Americans in Hawaiʻi turned to consumer culture to demonstrate their fitness for citizenship, and in the process reinforced class and racial hierarchies that had been in the making since the 1920s. Building on recent scholarship that considers ethnic communities within a trans-Pacific context, the book investigates how the Nisei rose to prominence and preeminence in Hawaiʻi. More specifically, it explains how specific patterns of leisure and consumption allowed the Nisei to deliberately act out their whiteness, thereby enabling them to further their economic and political goals. It shows that the creation of Nisei identity was not only a process internal to the Japanese American community, but also a part of the economic and political formation of Hawaiʻi as a whole. The book also discusses the ways in which the adoption of class-based notions of whiteness as a standard of feminine beauty proved to be both empowering and limiting for Japanese Americans.

Keywords:   whiteness, Japanese Americans, Hawaiʻi, consumer culture, citizenship, class, Nisei, consumption, Nisei identity, beauty

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