The Japanese


Initially the Japanese were encouraged by their government to immigrate to the Hawaiian Islands and other U.S. controlled lands to work the sugar plantations. However by the turn of the 20th century many Japanese were migrating to the West Coast to attend college and obtain a greater education that wasn’t available in Japan. Between 1886 to 1911 more than 400,000 Japenese men, women, and children had immigrated to U.S. or U.S. controlled land.   

Japanese immigrants

Japanese womenon an immigration ship. Photo Source: California State Parks, State Museum Resource Center all rights reserved. 

As part of Asia, the Japanese with their unusual customs, culture and looks were seen as exotic.  Their homeland of Japan was distant island full of romance and magic: a perfect backdrop to provide a dreamy setting for several songs.  To learn more click on the photo or song title.  

in japan  In Japan With Mi-Mo-San, 1915.  Composer: Anita Owen.

The Maid from Toyko  The Maid From Tokyo, 1901. Composer: Bob Cole.

My Lu Lu San Japanese Love Song  My Lu Lu San, 1905.  Composer Bob Cole.


Several songs also utilized what is considered decisively Japanese symbols such as the cherry blossom and willow tree to express romantic sentiment.

My Japanese Cherry Blossom  My Japanese Cherry Blossom, 1901.  Compose: John Stromberg 

My Princess of the Willow Tree My Princess of the Willow Tree, 1917.  Composer:  Morgan Carey