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Japanese War Bride I

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Sound | c. 1954

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  •  The following is a rough translation of the bride's speech: August second I arrived at Seattle, Washington. I was astonished by the America that I saw the first time. She moved from Washington to Cincinnati, Ohio, then to San Antonio. The first surprise is that there are so many cars and the buildings are clean [could mean intact, or could be a       comment on building style] and the road is very clean. [roads in Japan not originally made for cars, not straight and wide] There is a school for foreigners to learn history, English and so on and I'm going to school at night 3 times a week. I sometimes see the other Japanese people, they seem to be living here happily too. 
  •  A U.S. serviceman brings his new bride tea 
  •  The wife speaks (in Japanese) about her experience moving to the United States 
  •  The woman continues her story in a close-up shot 
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Between the years of 1947 and 1964, over 46,000 "war brides" immigrated to the United States from Japan after marriage to U.S. servicemen. The G.I. Fiancees Act passed by Congress in 1946 allowed servicemen to bring their Japanese wives home and provided an important exception to the overall ban on Japanese immigration imposed by the Johnson-Reed Act from 1924 until 1952. This film serves as a fascinating artifact from this period. Shot by the U.S. Army, the footage features a Japanese wife speaking directly to the camera about her experiences in her new country. Shot at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, the film clearly was intended to be sent back to Japan.