Overseas Japanese-language Newspapers


The Shinonome zasshi, published in San Francisco around 1886, is known as the first Japanese-language newspaper published overseas. From then on, as Japanese communities of a certain size were formed in the United States, Hawaii, and countries in South America, many Japanese-language newspapers were launched, reporting news about their homeland, their host country, and local area as well as publishing articles in literary, editorial, and other features. These newspapers thus helped unite Japanese immigrants unfamiliar with the local language.
Such newspapers might be strongly sympathetic with the civil rights movement in the United States, the bastion of democracy. At other times they might report about the agonies immigrants suffered as they were seen as people of an enemy country. They might also describe immigrants’ bewilderment as to how to love “two homelands” and how to get along with children who had assimilated into the host society. In Brazil, immediately after the end of World War II, a false report that Japan was victorious split the Japanese community in two.
The overseas Japanese-language newspapers contain numerous articles on a wide range of topics—from politics, business, and education to entertainment, gossips, and advertisement—that cannot be found elsewhere and they therefore offer valuable primary resources for study of the history of Japanese immigrants. They also provide the foundations of the Japanese-language environment outside Japan. Many of those who ran the newspapers were outstanding entrepreneurs and writers.

From among Japanese-language newspapers published overseas, this database now offers nine newspapers, published in São Paulo, San Francisco and Buenos Aires.

*If a newspaper article or its content is found to be inappropriate for publication in the database, contact us as follows:
Library Services Unit Library Resources Section: database*nichibun.ac.jp (Please replace * with @)

Data Count: 15,522 items (As of February 2020)

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