Acculturation Patterns of Three Japanese American Generations: A Case Study of the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center

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Issei, Nisei, Sansei, Cultural Contact, Japanese-Americans, Acculturation


American Studies | Japanese Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology of Culture


The East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center is the setting for this inquiry on Japanese American acculturation. The case study will be presented in specific relation to the particular patterns of participation and accompanying functions of the Community Center for each of the three generations of Japanese Americans. A major question to be dealt with is, does the active participation at the Community Center evidence or indicate distinct generational patterns of Japanese American acculturation?

In addition to offering a multifaceted description and analysis of the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, this study possesses a broader significance. In the first place, it fills a gap in research on Japanese American acculturation patterns which have previously been examined from the context of White society. In contrast to such research traditions, this study examines acculturation patterns among the three generations within the context of an ethnic institution, which the White majority rarely sees, know, or comes in contact with. Secondly, this study has a timely significance, since the Japanese American population has almost completely reached the stage where the first pre-world War II immigrant generation has nearly disappeared, the second generation is approaching retirement age, and the third generation is beginning to raise families and settle down. Thirdly, it is hoped that this study might be of assistance to Japanese American community centers in general by offering information about a particular set of patterns of Japanese American acculturation and the consequent issues or implications for policies and programs. Lastly, this study demonstrates the increasing complexity of the Japanese American acculturation patterns due to the arrival of new immigrants since the mid-1950's. This group of Japanese presents a research arena where virtually no empirical data exists.

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