Americans of Japanese ancestry


"Americans of Japanese ancestry" or AJAs, is alternative term for "Japanese Americans," most commonly used in Hawai'i. The term came into widespread use during World War II, in the context of Americanization movements under martial law. In this context, the term was viewed as being more "American" than terms such as "Nisei" or "Sansei," which have roots in the Japanese language or than "Japanese American," since "Americans" was put first. Many observers credit the Japanese Americans in the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team with popularizing the term.[1] The term is still used today in Hawai'i, most notably to refer to Japanese American baseball leagues (called "AJA Leagues") and Japanese American war veterans.[2]

For More Information

Kotani, Roland. The Japanese in Hawaii: A Century of Struggle. Honolulu: Hochi, Ltd., 1985.

Lind, Andrew W. Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946.

Footnotes

  1. See for instance, Andrew W. Lind, Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946), 130; Roland Kotani, The Japanese in Hawaii: A Century of Struggle (Honolulu: Hochi, Ltd., 1985), 92; and Yukiko Kimura, Issei: Japanese Immigrants in Hawaii (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1988), xv.
  2. See for instance http://ajabaseball.com/; Michael M. Okihiro, AJA Baseball in Hawaii: Ethnic Pride and Tradition (Honolulu: Hawaii Hochi, Ltd., 1999) or http://www.ajawarvets.org/mainmenu.cfm?stg=home.