Date of Award:
Master of Arts (MA)
David Rich Lewis
This thesis examines the Utah Nippo, its messages to Salt Lake City's Nikkei population, and draws out the paper's editorial themes intended for resident Utah Nikkei. The Utah Nippo was one of three Japanese-language newspapers that published during World War II and it was a voice for community leaders and editors who urged Salt Lake Nikkei to behave in certain ways that (they believed) would prove a certain loyal American identity. Such an identity was comprised of prescribed behaviors: supporting the government and war effort, attending patriotic activities, keeping a low social profile, and quietly enduring the fear and discrimination directed at them as Nikkei in the midst of a national war against Japan. The Utah Nippo painted the model minority stereotype during World War II, although scholars view it as a postwar concept imposed on Asian Americans. Although not entirely dictated by the Japanese American Citizens League, the newspaper content was influenced by the League's wartime campaigns for working with the U.S. government and behaving loyally. Nikkei in community leadership roles actively encouraged this image because it meant safety by assurance of Americanism. Individuals and editorials highlighted behaviors that helped or hurt the group image. The newspaper also focused on ending racism in the U.S. within Nikkei communities and as they resettled throughout the nation. While the Utah Nippo printed such sentiments, not all residents necessarily agreed with or did as the newspaper suggested, yet the articles indicated the identity that editors and leaders hoped to create. In light of the tenuous situation that Salt Lake Nikkei felt they lived in, it made sense for individuals to outwardly conform and incorporate the paper's behavioral guidelines in order to deflect suspicions over loyalty away from the group.
Fassmann, Sarah, ""Super Salesmen" for the Toughest Sales Job: The Utah Nippo, Salt Lake City's Japanese Americans, and Proving Group Loyalty, 1941-1946" (2012). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 1286.
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