The Guam Nikkei Association has embarked on a mission to establish and secure the names of issei who came to Guam from Japan in the late 1800's and into the first decade and a half of 1900's.
Of interest to all of you, attached are names of issei who married Chamorro women and whose marriages were recorded in the Hagåtña Cathedral and the churches of Humåtak, Inalåhan, Hågat and Sumay. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LIST OF NAMES.
The list indicates the names of their spouses and I'm urging that if you happen to know any of the offsprings of the original couples AND/OR are currently members of the Guam Nikkei Association, please provide me through this e-mail (email@example.com) with correct full Japanese names and surnames. As you can see, many of them were also given Christian names. Because the Guam Nikkei Association plans to build a memorial monument in their honor at the Peace Memorial Park in Yigo in the early part of 2014, it is important that these names be submitted by the January 31, 2014 deadline.
Failure to provide the corrections will result in the non-inclusion of these issei who deserve our tribute. As part of history, many of them, too, perished during and towards the closing of the war as they might have been caught in the cross-fire between the imperial army of Japan and the forces of the United States marines.
Many were never given proper burial rites and their memories are forever shrouded in mystery even as surviving spouses died in the past several years. Because next year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Guam Nikkei Association would like to lay this matter to rest and bring a closure to the fate of those who died. As well, those who did survive and lived on will also be included in the memorial monument.
Feel free to forward this to as many people you know who may or may not be current members of our organization. We plan a ceremony for the dedication of the monument once completed.
Of interest to you, are the following facts that must be noted by everyone. These are:
1. The Japanese immigrated to Guam via Yokohama, Japan. They most likely came from the prefectures of Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Gunma.
2. Almost all were single and in their youths.
3. Some came as laborers, some came as merchants, some came as farmers. All were skilled. By the 1920's and 1930's, a majority of Japanese owned businesses in Hagåtña only to lose them upon the invasion of the imperial army and many were not continued after the island's liberation.
4. Many remained on Guam because they married Chamorro women. Some also returned to Japan and came back in later times as contract workers.
5. All became Catholic. The law stated, "NO CONVERSION, NO MARRIAGE!"
6. Most chose the name "Jose" as a first name in honor of the religious saint, "patriarch of families." Some also chose first names of fathers-in-law who may have acted as sponsors of these marriages.
7. Fifty two names appear on the attachment. There were a few women who also came to the island. One well-known one was Mrs. Rie Dejima.
If you know of additional names that are not on the list but you know that they were present in that period of time, please let me know, too.
I will be working on a press release and, hopefully, media coverage before the end of the year.
As a final note, we plan to indicate their original names in Japanese characters and their Christian/Chamorro names in English. Time is of the essence, please respond, at least to let me know that you'll help us out by forwarding this message to people even the ones who are living elsewhere in the mainland or in other countries.
si peter r. onedera