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Chinese and Japanese Americans

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Chinese and Japanese Americans have had very different roads of U.S. immigration. Chinese Americans began immigration to the US in 1852 as part of the Gold Rush. As the Chinese immigrant population grew hostility began to grow amongst US citizens. The Chinese were willing to work for lower wages than Americans and many Americans viewed this as a threat. Starting with wage disputes, hostility toward Chinese Americans quickly turned to racism and violence. Besides better economic opportunities the Chinese have also been driven to immigration to the US for political reasons. Although presently China is considered an ally and good trading partner, this was not always the case. During the cold war era China was a very brutal government under Mao Zedong. The Chinese were considered far more similar with Russians than with the U.S.

In contrast the Japanese immigrants have come mainly during the early 1900's. Obviously with the rise of WWII, immigration was halted to the U.S. The next wave of immigration from Japan was small in the 1990's as a result of the 10 year recession that Japan experienced. Many of the Japanese Americans today are 4th and 5th generation Japanese Americans. The Japanese experienced a great deal of racial hatred as a result of WWII. There were many 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese Americans living in the United States who were forced to live in camps during the war. During the 1980's the Japanese were again targeted with stereotyping and prejudice as many people feared that the Japanese were taking over the world economically. This fear quickly ended when the Japanese fell into serious recession during the 1990's.

Although Japanese and Chinese Americans are both under the collective group of Asian American they have both had very different roads to immigration. The process of assimilation has been slow with both groups but social pluralism has grown considerably in many areas. Both like Italian immigrants Asian Americans have created businesses and communities which have helped to mold the American experience. (Schaefer, 2006, p. 352)



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