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In 1937, a front-page article addressed a District Court verdict involving a Swedish woman of dual citizenship.

The opening paragraph hardly mentions any specifics of the case, but states that the Court’s decision, “upholds the principle that any person born under the American flag can never lose his citizenship.”16 Further into the article, the details of the case are treated, but the issue of dual nationality was the primary concern to the readers of the Courier and the reporting reflects as much.

Close attention to the issue of citizenship rights and discrimination was another major aim of articles in the Courier.

Historian Quintard Taylor has argued that “the Courier rarely commented on discrimination against blacks and other minorities.”15 While generally true, this does not account for the extent to which the paper did focus on the citizenship rights of “outside groups” other than the Nisei, usually with the purpose of relating those examples directly back to second-generation Japanese.

academic success,”21 rather than political agitation. Indeed, academic achievement was regularly noted in issues of the Courier, particularly in late spring near commencement.

In 1938, the Courier front-page proclaimed: “Barely exceeding the 1937 total, some 27 second generation will receive their sheepskins from the University of Washington.”22 The article then proceeded to individually name each graduate.

Instead, the Courier preferred to quote nationally respected speakers, intellectuals, and educators denouncing prejudice.

Quoting a professor of education at New York University, the Courier reported that assimilation “called for efforts on behalf of both the majority and minority groups.”17 University of Washington associate researcher John A.

Confrontational language was rarely a feature of the Courier’s articles on discrimination.

By offering headlines on world, national, and local news, along with sports scores and classified advertisements, the Courier shared many of the common features of any modern newspaper. Focusing chiefly on the concerns of younger, second-generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei) and seeking to help them make sense of their world, the Courier regularly published articles relating to nationalism, moral obligations, the Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL), and education.

Seemingly disparate, these recurring topics coalesced into one larger, overriding theme – what it meant to be Nisei in 1930s America.

In 1929, publisher James Sakamoto helped to establish the Japanese American Citizens' League (JACL).


The purpose of the JACL was to facilitate assimilation for second-generation Japanese-Americans while educating the larger public about Japanese-American life.

The link between second-generation welfare and American citizenship values was not incidental.


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