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Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1920, 1921-1949 (bulk, 1930-1949)
SCG.00075  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection consists of verified written reports from 65 depositions regarding Japanese-owned properties focused in Sonoma County, California. These reports compiled in compliance of Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1920 were filed between 1921 and 1949. They include names of trustee (s), names of minor (s), legal description of real property, and, for most cases, income and expenditures.
Background
The California Alien Land Law of 1913 (also known as the Webb-Haney Act) prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term leases over it, but permitted leases lasting up to three years. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California. Implicitly, the law was primarily directed at the Japanese. It passed thirty-five to two in the Senate and seventy-two to three in the Assembly and was co-written by attorney Francis J. Heney and California state attorney general Ulysses S. Webb at the behest of Governor Hiram Johnson. Japan's Consul General Kametaro Iijima and lawyer Juichi Soyeda lobbied against the law. In a letter to the United States Secretary of State, the Japanese government via the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs called the law "essentially unfair and inconsistent… with the sentiments of amity and good neighborhood which have presided over the relations between the two countries," and noted that Japan felt it was "in disregard of the spirit of the existing treaty between Japan and the United States." The law was meant to discourage immigration from Asia, and to create an inhospitable climate for immigrants already living in California. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed June 4, 2019: )The California Alien Land Law of 1920 continued the 1913 law while filling many of its loopholes. Among the loopholes filled were that the leasing of land for a period of three years or less was no longer allowed; owning of stock in companies that acquired agricultural land was forbidden; and guardians or agents of ineligible aliens were required to submit an annual report on their activities. The 1920 Alien Land Law was passed in reaction to the intensification of anti-Japanese sentiment, and to the fact that the 1913 Alien Land Law was doing little to stem Japanese immigration to California. The law was approved by the voters after being proposed by the California State Legislature. It passed with a vote of 668,438 to 222,086. The 1920 law was amended in 1923 to further fill wording-related loopholes. The Alien Land Laws were invalidated in 1952 by the Supreme Court of California as a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution in Sei Fujii v. California. Fujii was a longtime Los Angeles resident, but was not a U.S. citizen. He alleged that the law violated the California and United States Constitutions, and that it also went against the spirit of the United Nations Charter to which the United States was bound by treaty. The California District Court of Appeal had decided in 1950 that the Alien Land Law was in violation of Articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter. The Supreme Court of California then ordered the case transferred for hearing and settlement, as it was determined to be a sufficiently important question of law. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed June 4, 2019: )Elliot, Albert H. and Guy C. Calden, trustees for Morio Tominaga: 1930-1933Guy C. Calden: 1930-1933Fujita, Eigi: 1930-1936
Extent
0.3 linear feet 1 archival storage box
Restrictions
Collection does not circulate and may be photocopied or photographed by arrangement only.
Availability
Conditions Governing Access: This collection is partially processed. Please contact the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library for access; for contact info and current hours, see