Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula, The
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More About This Title Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula, The


From fishermen to farmers to business leaders, the Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula have played a vitally important role in making Monterey what it is today. After the United States imposed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, the number of Japanese immigrants to the West Coast increased in large numbers. In 1895, one of those immigrants, Otosaburo Noda, noticed the incredible variety of fish and red abalone in the bay. He developed the first Japanese colony on what is now Cannery Row. At the end of salmon season in August 1909, the Monterey Daily Cypress reported that there were 185 salmon boats fishing the bay, of which 145 were Japanese-owned. By 1920, there were nine Japanese abalone companies diving for this tasty mollusk, supplying restaurants and markets throughout California and across the country. Prior to World War II, 80 percent of the businesses on the Monterey Wharf were Japanese-owned.


Tim Thomas is a fourth-generation native of the Monterey Bay area. For the last 20 years, he has conducted research and written and lectured extensively on the fisheries of the Monterey Bay. The Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) was founded by 18 charter members on January 25, 1932, just two years after the national organization was formed.