Takako Day

Takako Day, originally from Kobe, Japan, is an award-winning freelance writer and independent researcher who has published seven books and hundreds of articles in the Japanese and English languages. Her latest book, SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME: The Moral Dilemma of Kibei No No Boys in World War Two Incarceration Camps is her first book in English. 

Relocating from Japan to Berkeley in 1986 and working as a reporter at the Nichibei Times in San Francisco first opened Day’s eyes to social and cultural issues in multicultural America. Since then, she has written from the perspective of a cultural minority for more than 30 years on such subjects as Japanese and Asian American issues in San Francisco, Native American issues in South Dakota (where she lived for seven years) and most recently (since 1999), the history of little known Japanese Americans in pre-war Chicago. Her piece on Michitaro Ongawa is born of her love of Chicago.

Updated December 2016

media en

Illinois Japanese Unknown Heroes

Chapter 2 (Part 1): Japanese Acrobats and Entertainers in Chicago: Kumataro Namba and the Tetsuwari Troupe—Introduction: On the Road

According to The Encyclopedia of Chicago, “Chicago’s position as the prime city of the Midwest has made it both a necessary stopover on the itinerary of any touring production and a home for a thriving resident theater community.”1 This explains exactly what Chicago represented for Japanese entertainers and why they lived there. In fact, the first Japanese who set foot in Chicago were members of acrobatic troupes who came here even before the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869. In the mid-1860s, stories of various Japanese entertainment troupes filled the newsp…

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migration ja

戦前シカゴの日本人

シカゴの宣教師たちと日本人 ― オンガワ道太郎

ハリー・北野は著書『Generations and Identity: The Japanese American』の中で、「日本に行った初期キリスト教宣教師たちの伝道はうまくいかず、むしろ渡米してきた日本人移民たちが彼らにとってよき伝道対象となった」と書いている。が、北野の分析は、シカゴの日本人にはあまりあてはまらない。むしろ日本での伝道が成功したからこそ、日本人がシカゴにやってくるようになったといわんばかりだ。その一人がオンガワ道太郎こと小川道太郎である。  小川道太郎がシカゴにやってきたのは1871年4月、12歳の時である。長老派の宣教師であるクリストファー・カロザスの妻ジュリアが、日本からアメリカに一時帰国したときに連れてこられたのだった。  カロザスは1867年にシカゴ大学を卒業、1869年にシカゴにある長老派の神学校を卒業して、ジュリアとともに横浜に向かった。宣教師たちは横浜の居留地に住み、日本人に英語やキリスト教を教えた。道太郎はジュリアが教える生徒の一人だった。 教会は、優秀な道太郎にアメリカで宣教師の訓練を受けさせ、日本へ送り返そうと考えていた。そこで、ジュリアは、ウィスコンシン州マディソンにいる、同じく長老派の牧師である自分の父親、リチャード・ドッジに道太郎を預けた。1年の休暇を終えると、ジュリアは、道太郎を残して、夫のいる日本に戻っていっ…

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migration en

Illinois Japanese Unknown Heroes

Chapter 1 (Part 7): Japanese Garden Designers, Domestic Workers, and their “Japanophile” Employers—Japanese Gardener, Susumu Kobayashi, and Cook Junji George Matsumoto at Riverbank

Read Chapter 1 (Part 6) >> After Taro Otsuka left Riverbank, another Japanese gardener named Oscar Susumu Kobayashi took over maintaining the garden Otsuka had built for George Fabyan around 1910. Kobayashi had met Otsuka at the Japanese YMCA in Chicago around 1917,1 when he was there looking for a job. In the years that followed, Otsuka and Kobayashi were close enough that Kobayashi let Otsuka stay at his place in Florida for several weeks in the winter of 1923-24, when Otsuka did not have much to do in Chicago.2 Kobayashi was born in Shimane in March 1892 and arrived in Seattle at a…

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migration en

Illinois Japanese Unknown Heroes

Chapter 1 (Part 6): Japanese Garden Designers, Domestic Workers, and their “Japanophile” Employers—Taro Otsuka from Chicago to New York City

Read Chapter 1 (Part 5) >> In 1921, Otsuka moved to 216 North Michigan Avenue1 following Maruyama’s next business move,2 although the new location was “a less desirable location (than 300 S Michigan Avenue.)”3 In addition, Maruyama changed his business name to the Toyo Importing Company because, according to Beth Cody, “the Toyo Art Shop no longer carried just high-end art, but also included common decorative and household items.”4 When Maruyama’s business began declining, Otsuka had to think of another means for survival and had fo…

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migration en

Illinois Japanese Unknown Heroes

Chapter 1 (Part 5): Japanese Garden Designers, Domestic Workers, and their “Japanophile” Employers—Taro Otsuka, Japanese Garden Designer

Read Chapter 1 (Part 4) >> Taro Otsuka was born in 1868 in Kochi, Japan and rumored to be an activist and a comrade of Taisuke Itagaki, a liberal politician who advocated for liberty and civil rights in the 1880s in Japan.1 At age 30, he arrived in Seattle on December 21, 18972, leaving his wife in Japan. He listed his profession as “mineral works” and his contact in the U.S. as “T. Kataoka” in Tacoma, Washington.3 This “T. Kataoka” was Tsunejiro Kataoka from Kochi, who had come to Seattle in 1888 to help with a land clearing project that had…

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