How Japanese Took Space in California

During the 1900s, it was common that most laws were about segregating the white people from any other races. From education, business, and even to land.

Facing racism in the populated cities in America, Japanese Americans responded to this hostility by focusing on agriculture as an economic endeavor since it would be less threatening to whites. Japanese Americans established successful farms and supported themselves through purchasing supplies, transportation and marketing. However, with their success comes the prying eyes of the white people.

Photo taken from Equal Justice Initiative

Local Government in California started targeting Japanese Americans land rights. Limiting the presence and permanence of Japanese immigrants from 1913 until the end of World War II. The Law states that Japanese Americans are not eligible to own a property for the sole reason of “aliens ineligible for citizenship”. Thus, forcing Japanese immigrants to move to safer and saner places in America.

Photo taken from Venice-West Los Angeles JACL

Even though the law is clearly racially motivated, it was upheld until the 1920s. After World War II, the Supreme Court ruled against the Alien Land Law, upholding the rights of citizens and determined that it indeed infringe on aliens’ rights to equal protection under the law. And finally in 1952, the Alien Land Laws were completely invalidated because forbidding the Japanese Americans to own a land is a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Written by: Issa Calipay

Issa Calipay is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is an incoming 4th Year student of Advertising and Public Relations from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa.


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based in California that advocates
social inclusion of minorities with
Asian heritage though cultural awareness.


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How Japanese Took Space in California
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