For over 100 years, Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans have called San Diego County home. Attracted to the warm climate and economic opportunities, Issei (first-generation Japanese immigrants) drifted into San Diego in the 1880s and introduced effective new fishing techniques that contributed to the growth of this industry. From the Tijuana River Valley on the border with Mexico to Oceanside in North County, Japanese American families started small truck farms in the first decades of the 20th century, developing techniques to improve crop production. Surviving the heartbreak of evacuation and incarceration during World War II in desert internment camps, San Diegans returned to rebuild a vibrant community after the war.
Author Bio: Susan Hasegawa is a professor of history at San Diego City College. She has spent the past decade researching and writing on the San Diego Japanese American experience and has been the cocurator of historic exhibits throughout the region. With oral history interviews, archival photographs, and personal testimonies from the archive of the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, she brings alive here the story of Japanese Americans in San Diego. The Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego is dedicated to the collection, identification, preservation, and display of materials related to the Japanese American experience in the San Diego region.
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