The earliest records of Japanese settlers in Saint Louis date to the 1904 World’s Fair, when Mr. Yukinoba Yamamoto decided to stay in Saint Louis after the conclusion of the Fair.
From the 1904 World's Fair until World War II, only eleven Japanese families lived in Saint Louis. During World War II, Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were relocated into internment camps in Arkansas, California, Utah, and Wyoming. Upon their release, many of these citizens and immigrants decided to resettle in other areas of the country. Three hundred and fifty families settled in Saint Louis.
This exhibit shows the experiences of Japanese American Saint Louis families throughout the 1900s. Special emphasis is given to the World World II era, which had a dramatic effect on the lives of Japanese Americans. Through oral histories, articles, and text, the exhibit documents the history of the Japanese American in Saint Louis. Oral histories are an important contribution to the study of history, as they serve to fill in the gaps and add color to the past.The oral histories from this collection were recorded as part of a JACL oral history project in 1987 by Herm Smith, Roy Grob, and Mary Burrows. They interviewed Issei, the first generation Japanese Americans that arrived in the early 1900s and Nisei, second generation Japanese Americans, or those born in the United States.
In 2007, these are the average ages of the Issei, Nisei, and Sansei (third generation):
Issei: 102 years old