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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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Creating the Nisei Market

Creating the Nisei Market

(p.35) Chapter Two Creating the Nisei Market
Creating the Nisei Market

Shiho Imai

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the claim to whiteness allowed Japanese Americans in Hawaiʻi to demonstrate their Americanization while preserving their Japaneseness. It first considers how the immigrant press promoted the buying power of Nisei youths through advertising as a part of a concerted effort to better the image of the Japanese American community. In particular, it shows how the ethnic press leveraged the annual convention of the Pacific Advertising Clubs Association (PACA), held in Honolulu in 1928, to urge mainland manufacturers to recognize the benefits associated with courting Nisei consumers. The chapter also discusses advertisements in the Japanese American press promoting feminine beauty and personal hygiene products, using the language of “natural beauty” (shizenbi) to compete with the cosmetics industry. Finally, it looks at advertising trends for beauty products during the Great Depression and demonstrates how class-based notions of whiteness resonated for the Issei, at a time when Japanese advertisers used the term interchangeably with shizenbi to assert an ethnocentrism via the language of beauty.

Keywords:   whiteness, Japanese Americans, Hawaiʻi, Americanization, Japaneseness, Nisei, advertising, ethnic press, Pacific Advertising Clubs Association, beauty

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