Between 1820 and 1924 there were several immigrant groups that moved to the United States of America. However, this essay is going to discuss on two of these immigrant groups, namely, the Chinese Americana and the Japanese Americans. First, we are going to discuss each of the immigrants separately before embarking on the differences and the similarities seen between these groups. In this discussion, it will be clear that the both the immigration of Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans had the same experience in terms of the reception as well as the segregation and denial of citizenship in America(Daniels 118).
Consequently, as per the United States of America government records, the first Chinese Americans arrived in America in 1820. In the next twenty-seven years, the Chinese Americans who were fewer than one thousand arrived. These Chinese were drawn to America by the gold that had been discovered in California in 1848. Eyeing the opportunity for finding a menial work to do, the immigrants could not stop moving in large numbers. This migration saw the total number of Chinese in California hitting the twenty five thousand mark. The number was rising significantly, such that by 1880, it had reached 105,465. As the number increased, most of the Chinese moved to the Far West. However, after a few years, several thousands of the Chinese were returning home (Mifflin 76).
In these Chinese Americans, almost all of them were poorly educated young males who came from Guangdong province in China. One of the driving forces that compelled them to move to America was the wars and conflicts in China. Apart from this factor, the search for job opportunities was also a factor that led to their migration. Therefore, the plan of many of these immigrants was that, until they found a modest nest egg, they would not go back home (Daniels 119).
While in California, the Chinese immigrants were doing every kind of available menial job. They were therefore, found mainly in such places as the gold mines, canneries, fisheries, and lumber industry. In addition, most of them worked as farm laborers. While some were offering menial labor, some were opening laundries. The initiative of those who opened the laundries led to the development of Chinese laundries in several American cities. The advantage of the laundry business in the United States of America was that, while the demand for their services was quite high, the starting capital or the operation skills were not needed.
The greatest achievement that was seen in these immigrants however, was the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Through this railroad, the Chinese Americans were regarded as heroes. About fifteen thousand Chinese were employed in the building of the Central Pacific Railroad. The railroad construction also saw the population of the Chinese in the Far West America rising dramatically.
The first patch of the Japanese Americans on the other hand, arrived in 1868 in Hawaii. It was one year later that the American mainland had the first Japanese settlement. These Japanese settlements were the Silk Colony, which were found in Gold Hill located in Calif, and the Wakamatsu. The enterprise of the silk colony collapsed within two years. Later a small group of the male Japanese, most of which were students, steadily immigrated to the United States of America. It was however, until 1890 when a good number of workers from Japan moved to America in search of menial labor. Because of this immigration of the Japanese workers to the United States, the census that was done in 1890 revealed that the number of Japanese in America was 2,039. The next decade saw the number reaching 22,000. Later, the decade between 1901 through to 1910 saw the number increasing to 58000 (Mifflin 76).
The Japanese Americans, like the Chinese Americans, were welcomed to the United States as laborers on their arrival. Upon being welcomed, they lived in their own small colonies, which were found in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. They had moved to Los Angeles following the San Francisco earthquake. Like the Chinese too, the Japanese immigrants were working in fisheries, railroads, small factories, and lumber camps. At the same time, most of them also worked as migrant workers or as farmers in agriculture sector, while others were starting their small businesses (Daniels 120).
The difference of the Japanese Americans and the Chinese Americans was however, still apparent. For the Japanese Americans, despite the fact that the United States of America had denied naturalization privileges to all the immigrants, they were planning to stay permanently in the United States.
In respond to the growing number of the Japanese population in the United States, there was the establishment of the anti-Japanese movement. Like the movement opposing the Chinese, the leaders of the anti-Japanese movement were the politicians, the newspapers, and the California labor leaders. The school boards later segregated the Japanese schoolchildren from the white students in San Francisco (Mifflin 76).
The law in America then denied citizenship to the foreign-born Japanese. This was the same case as with the Chinese. However, the American-born Japanese children were on the other hand, given the privilege of being the United States citizens. According to the classification in Army terminology, the foreign-born Japanese were referred to as the aliens, while the American-born Japanese were referred to as the non aliens. However, whether aliens or non aliens, all the Japanese were treated in America as enemy aliens (Daniels 120).
Daniels, Roger. Coming to America: a history of immigration and ethnicity in American life.
New York, NY: Perennial, 2002. Print.
Mifflin, Houghton. Major problems in American immigration and ethnic history: documents and
essays. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Print.