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Hawaii's Japanese American Literature: Evidence for an Evolving Culture

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Title: Hawaii's Japanese American Literature: Evidence for an Evolving Culture
Authors: Enoki, Nathan
Issue Date: 15 Jan 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: The experiences of an immigrant to the United States represent a significant part of our country's culture and heritage, for in every respect, Americans who are not American Indians must have ancestral ties to the immigrant tradition. Arguably, this tradition is most apparent in the state of Hawaii, where everyone who is not a native Hawaiian actually has an immigrant background that began generations earlier. Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Koreans, Filipinos, and people of other nationalities came to Hawaii for various reasons, and certainly there is no other place in the world where such a diverse mix of cultures and histories has come together in such a small land area. Hawaii, therefore, can in essence be seen as a microcosm of the immigrant tradition within the United States, but it has other important qualities that make it both representative of the United States and unique in its own right. The literature produced by the people of Hawaii expresses this unique Hawaii immigrant tradition. One of the largest immigrant groups who have made the Islands their home is the Japanese. In many respects, the intentions of the Japanese immigrants with regard to their journey to the Hawaiian Islands were very similar to those of immigrants from other nations. For example, most of these immigrants relocated to Hawaii to pursue their fortune. They were drawn by the great opportunities for prosperity that the potentially lucrative developing economy of the Islands offered them. Perhaps they were also drawn by the opportunity to break away from the lifestyle of their homelands, to experience the adventure and challenge of living in a little-known place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In any case, the Japanese, like the immigrants from other nations, came to the Islands with the hope that this new way of life would bring happiness and prosperity to themselves and their future generations.
Pages/Duration: 40 pages
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Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for English

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