May 7, 1843: The First Japanese in America
The month of May was chosen to commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to capture two significant dates in Asian American history, firstly, the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and secondly to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
Specifics as to who was the first Japanese is sketchy, but what is known is that there were official Members of the Japanese Embassy to the United States (1860), who sailed on the Kanrin Maru and the USS Powhatan. Fukuzawa Yukichi sits on the right in the picture above.
Let’s all celebrate May 7 as a mark of really incredible pan-Pacific voyages in an era well before worldwide travel was as safe as it is today.