Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Title: Abiko Family Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1890-1944
Collection number: 1690
Creator: Abiko Family
Extent: 44 boxes (22 linear ft.)
2 oversize boxes
University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of 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
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, Department
of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library,
Department of 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.
[Identification of item], Abiko Family Papers (Collection 1690). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research
Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
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).
indicates Japanese characters included in the print version of this online finding aid, available for consultation at the
UCLA Library, Department of 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]
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged in the following series:
- Abiko Yonako diaries, 1891-1944 (Boxes 1-5).
- Abiko Yonako personal memorabilia (Boxes 6-12).
- Incoming correspondence in Japanese (Boxes 13-25).
- Incoming correspondence in English (Boxes 26-29).
Nichibei Shimbun Kengakudan, 1925-26 (Boxes 30-32).
- Tsuda College Emergency Committee (Box 33).
- Abiko Kyutaro personal memorabilia (Boxes 34-35).
Nichibei Shimbun documents (Boxes 36-38).
- Yasuo Abiko personal memorabilia (Box 39).
- Yasuo Abiko Nichi Bei Jiji files (Boxes 40-41).
- Photographs (Boxes 42-44).
- Oversize items.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Publishers and publishing--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.
Japanese American families--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.
Genres and Forms of Material