Tuesday, 5 February 2013

1913 - Vintage Japanese Posters & Alien Laws

In my exploration of the Internet I've come across some lovely Japanese movie and theatre posters, and postcards from around 1913.  There also seems to have been a number of documentaries about Japan, both made by the Japanese themselves, and by Americans. I wonder if this had something to do with the Californian Alien Land Law of 1913, which prevented any 'alien' particularly Japanese, from owning land in California. 

In 1898 all Japanese workers in Hawaii were released, and most immigrated to California - 12,000 in 1900.  The Japanese possessed the right to lease and own land in the United States for residential and commercial use based on the 1911 American treaty with Japan, but some factions, such as  the Anti-Asiatic Association, feared that the Japanese were attempting to overtake white control of California’s farmland. The Los Angeles Times newspaper was also vocal in the anti-Japanese movement.

Japanese workers picking Strawberries, Kent, Washington c. 1910 source

Though the Act was meant to decrease immigration, numbers actually rose. Some Japanese at first got around the prohibitions by renting land from sympathetic non-Japanese, or by purchasing land in the name of their children, who were U.S. citizens. Later, even harsher land laws made their lives difficult and sent a strong message that their adopted country did not want them. The alien land laws were not repealed until the 1950s.  Even so, by 1915, three-quarter of the vegetables consumed in Los Angeles  were grown by Japanese.

One of the most famous farmers in the world, and author of The one straw revolution, was Japanese -
Masanobu Fukuoka.  He was also born in 1913 (2 February, he died in 2008).  If you are into permaculture or gardening in general, his work is worth reading. 

Masanobu Fukuoka in 2002

I haven't been able to find copies of the movies themselves, but here are some of the images.  I hope you like them. More images on tumblr.

 "Theatre Street, Yokohama", showing street vendors & rickshaws. source .
Exhibition in Kobe, c, 1911
Directed by George Melies, 1913 source

Woman and boy seated with writing material and tea set, c. 1913

A postcard from Yokahama, Japan, c. 1913, source

Deb xxx

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