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Finding Aid for the Abiko Family Papers, ca. 1890-1944
1690  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Abiko Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1890-1944
    Collection number: 1690
    Creator: Abiko Family
    Extent: 44 boxes (22 linear ft.) 2 oversize boxes
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: Kyutaro Abiko (1865-1936) was the longtime publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun of San Francisco, the leading Japanese daily newspaper published from 1899-1942. He also organized the Central California Land Company. In 1909, he married Yonako Abiko (1880-1944). After the death of Kyutaro in 1936, Yonako Abiko became publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun. During World War II, she was briefly interned at the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California. The couple had a son, Yasuo Abiko (1910-88). The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, photographs, and memorabilia related to the Abiko family. Most of the material in the collection is in Japanese, but some is in English as well.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Lily Abiko, 1992.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Abiko Family Papers (Collection 1690). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 462125 

    Biography

    Kyutaro Abiko (1865-1936) was an Issei pioneer who came to the U.S. in 1885; he was the longtime publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun of San Francisco, the leading Japanese daily newspaper published from 1899-1942; he also organized the Central California Land Company; he married Yonako Abiko (1880-1944), in 1909, the same year she came to the U.S.; she graduated from a private Methodist mission school and Tsuda College, a women's school in Japan which was established by her older sister, Tsuda Umeko; after the death of her husband in 1936, Yonako Abiko became publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun; during World War II, she was briefly interned at the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California, and she later died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1944; the couple had a son, Yasuo Abiko (1910-88).

    Biographical Narrative

    Note

    [characters] indicates Japanese characters included in the print version of this online finding aid, available for consultation at the UCLA Library Special Collections.
    The Abiko family was a very prominent Japanese immigrant family of San Francisco, California. A native of Niigata Prefecture, Abiko Kyutaro [characters] (1865-1936) was an Issei pioneer who immigrated to the United States in 1885. He was born as Kobayashi Kyutaro [characters], but assumed the family name of his maternal grandfather, Abiko Taido [characters], by whom he was raised. A devout Christian throughout his life, Abiko was first exposed to Christianity through an English missionary who was active in his home Prefecture. In 1882 he moved to Tokyo where he was baptized in 1883. As a young student in the capitol, he studied English, French, and the Chinese classics at several private academies. After arriving in the United States, he continued his education in San Francisco where he attended Lincoln Grammar School and graduated from Boys High School in 1891. In 1892 he matriculated into the University of California.
    Abiko was a successful businessman, newspaper publisher, and highly respected Japanese community leader. He was the president of the Nichibei Kangyosha [characters] [Japanese American Industrial Corporation], a labor contracting company which supplied Japanese immigrant labor to the Utah Sugar Company, Union Pacific Coal Company, and various railway companies in the western United States. He was the longtime publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun [characters] [ Japanese American News] of San Francisco, the most influential Japanese immigrant daily published from 1899 to 1942. And he was the founder and head of the Beikoku Shokusan Kaisha [characters] [The American Land and Produce Company], an agricultural landholding company established for the benefit of Japanese immigrant farmers.
    As a community leader, Abiko was at the forefront in the Japanese immigrants' struggle against the anti-Japanese exclusion movement. On the one hand, he labored tirelessly to educate Americans about Japan and Japanese immigrants in the belief that American ignorance was at the bottom of the anti-Japanese exclusion movement. On the other hand, he encouraged Japanese immigrants to sink roots in American soil and to adapt themselves to American society. Like many European immigrants, Japanese immigrants came to the United States with the initial intent of returning to their homeland. In order to persuade Japanese immigrants to cast off their sojourning ideal, Abiko realized that they had to develop an economic and social stake in American society. In the belief that they were suited ideally to take up farming, he exhorted them to settle on land and become agricultural producers. Indeed, Abiko was instrumental in establishing the Yamato and Cortez colonies, two Japanese immigrant agricultural settlements in Central California. And in keeping with his advocacy of permanent settlement, he also encouraged Japanese immigrant males to summon wives from Japan.
    Mrs. Abiko Yonako [characters] (1880-1944) was a native of Tokyo. She was the seventh child and fifth daughter of Tsuda Sen & Hatsu [characters]. At the age of ten, she was adopted by her paternal aunt, Suto Yae [characters] and her husband, Suto Yonekichi [characters]. Mrs. Abiko married Abiko Kyutaro in 1909 and came to the United States in that year. One of her older sisters was Tsuda Umeko [characters] who was one of five Japanese girls sent by the Meiji government in 1871 to study in the United States. After eleven years in America, Tsuda Umeko returned to Japan and eventually established Tsuda College [characters] (initially called Joshi Eigaku Juku [characters]) in 1900, a women's school renown for its education in the English language and English literature. Mrs. Abiko, as a graduate of a private Methodist mission school, the Peeresses' School [characters], and Tsuda College itself, was a highly educated Issei woman who had a fluent command of English. Along with her husband, she was very active both within and without the Japanese immigrant community, and after the death of her husband in 1936, she became the publisher of the Nichibei Shimbun. During the wartime years, she was briefly interned at the Tanforan Assembly Center and died in Philadelphia in 1944. The couple had a son, Yasuo [characters] (1910-1988).

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, diaries, photographs, and memorabilia related to the Abiko family. The majority of the collection is made up of Yonako Abiko's personal papers, including her 51 diaries (1891-1944) and approximately 1,000 pieces of incoming correspondence (1896-1944). Most of the correspondence is letters from members of her immediate family. The collection also contains scrapbooks, photo albums, and other materials related to the 1925 and 1926 Nichibei Shimbun-sponsored Nisei kengakudan and the operations of the Nichibei Shimbun during the 1930s. Also includes correspondence and memorabilia related to Yonako Abiko's husband, Kyutaro Abiko, and son, Yasuo Abiko. Most of the material in the collection is in Japanese, but some is in English as well.

    Expanded Scope and Content

    • The Abiko Family Papers consist primarily of Mrs. Abiko's personal papers. These include her diaries, incoming correspondence files, personal memorabilia, photographic albums, and other family-related papers. Her diaries, consisting of 51 items, span the years from 1891 to 1944. The incoming correspondence files include approximately 1,000 letters covering the period 1896 to 1944. Most of the letters are from members of her immediate family, among whom are:
    • Tsuda Sen [characters], father
    • Tsuda Hatsu [characters], mother
    • Suto Yae [characters], paternal aunt and adopted mother
    • Suto Yonekichi [characters], uncle and adopted father
    • Uyeno Kotoko [characters], oldest sister
    • Uyeno Eizaburo [characters], brother-in-law and husband of Kotoko
    • Tsuda Umeko [characters], older sister
    • Tsuda Motochika [characters], older brother
    • Tsuda Jiro [characters], older brother
    • Tsuda Fukiko [characters], older sister
    • Wada Jun [characters], older brother
    • Wada Hanako [characters], sister-in-law and wife of Jun
    • Tsuda (Shishiuchi) Mariko [characters], older sister
    • Sakabe Tomiko [characters], younger sister
    • Sakabe Jiro [characters], brother-in-law and husband of Tomiko
    • Oi Emiko [characters], niece and eldest daughter of Kotoko
    • Oi Fukuko [characters], niece and second daughter of Kotoko
    • Oi Hiromitsu [characters], husband of Emiko
    The correspondence files also include many other Japanese letters from her husband, friends, and associates as well as English letters from white Americans and Nisei. Among her white American correspondents are Mary R.E. Nitobe, wife of Nitobe Inazo [characters]; Joseph Elkinton, friend and brother of Mary R.E. Nitobe; Sara W. Elkinton, wife of Joseph Elkinton; Anna C. Hartshorne, friend and benefactor of Tsuda College, and others connected to the school.
    In addition, the Abiko Family Papers include scrapbooks, photo albums, and other materials relating to the 1925 and 1926 Nichibei Shimbun-sponsored Nisei kengakudan [characters]; the Tsuda College Emergency Committee established in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake in order to raise funds to rebuild Tsuda College; Abiko Kyutaro's personal memorabilia, including fragments of his incoming correspondence and materials pertaining to his death and funeral in 1936; materials relating to the operation of the Nichibei Shimbun during the 1930s, including the 1931 strike; Yasuo Abiko's personal memorabilia; and Yasuo Abiko's postwar Nichi Bei Jiji [characters] [ Nichi Bei Times] files. (Researchers should note that there are additional sources relating to Abiko Kyutaro in the Oka Shigeki [characters] Papers.)

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Abiko Yonako diaries, 1891-1944 (Boxes 1-5).
    2. Abiko Yonako personal memorabilia (Boxes 6-12).
    3. Incoming correspondence in Japanese (Boxes 13-25).
    4. Incoming correspondence in English (Boxes 26-29).
    5. Nichibei Shimbun Kengakudan, 1925-26 (Boxes 30-32).
    6. Tsuda College Emergency Committee (Box 33).
    7. Abiko Kyutaro personal memorabilia (Boxes 34-35).
    8. Nichibei Shimbun documents (Boxes 36-38).
    9. Yasuo Abiko personal memorabilia (Box 39).
    10. Yasuo Abiko Nichi Bei Jiji files (Boxes 40-41).
    11. Photographs (Boxes 42-44).
    12. Oversize items.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Abiko family--Archives.
    Abiko, Yonako--Archives.
    Abiko, Kyutaro.
    Abiko, Yasuo.
    Nichibei shimbun.
    Publishers and publishing--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.
    Japanese American families--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Diaries.

    Related Material

    Japanese American Research Project Collection (Collection 2010)  . Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.