Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gayle Y. Iwamasa
Japanese Americans are residents or citizens of the United States whose ancestry is Japanese or Okinawan. Okinawa, formerly an independent nation, was annexed by Japan in the late 19th century. Japanese Americans constitute one of the earliest Asian American ethnic groups in the United States, along with Chinese Americans. Japanese Americans were among the three largest Asian American groups in the United States until the 1990s. Since then, in addition to Chinese Americans and Filipinos, the populations of Asian Indians, Vietnamese Americans, and Korean Americans have surpassed the population of Japanese Americans, which now compose the sixth largest group. Historically, Japanese Americans have experienced hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and institutionalized racism by the U.S. government, including the unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast during World War II. Later, Japanese Americans were included among the “model minorities,” a term, although seemingly flattering, that divides Japanese Americans from other ...