Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Nakamura, Kiyoye : Kiyoye Nakamura: Picture Bride by Tene Woo Kember
Year of Arrival 1918

Editor's note: After we posted Tene’s article, we received inquiries about the status of Kiyoye Nakamura. Did we know if she was able to land in the United States (this information for some reason was not in her file)? We did some more research and found the good news that it appears that the Nakamuras were listed in the 1930 census in Vacaville, California, with a three year old son, but the sad news that Kiyoye passed away of cancer in Vacaville in 1937. We also found a ship log showing Toragusu returning to the U.S. in 1940, with no listing for his son and can only speculate that he brought his son back to Japan to be raised.

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Ng, Lit : The Adventures of Lit Ng by Roy Chan
Year of Arrival 1939

“In my life, I feel so fortunate. Even if you don't have an education, you still could make it here in the United States. I made it. If I can make it, other people can too.” - Lit Ng

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Nikonenko, Paul and Mary : The Nikonenkos: Married at Sea on the Way to Angel Island by Eugenia Bailey
Year of Arrival 1923

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Ohashi, Mihi Endo : Reflections from the grandson of a Japanese picture bride by Glenn Osaka
Year of Arrival 1912

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Ong, Yet Nam : From Hoiping to Stanford by Roy Chan
Year of Arrival 1901

Ong Yet Nam was the first born son of Ong Yip Doy and Seto Shee. He was born in 1886 in rural Doung Moon Lei Village, Wu Lung, Hoiping, Guangdung, China, and died at the age of 43 in a tragic boating accident on the Pearl River in Canton, China

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Ozaki, Otokichi (Muin) : Angel Island was one of Eight Detention Centers for Otokichi Ozaki by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1917

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Park, Rose Young Soon : Two Korean Woman and a Child at Angel Island by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1914

There were no more than 1,000 Koreans among the half million immigrants who sought admission through the port of San Francisco between 1910 and 1940.  Fleeing a harsh life in Korea under Japanese colonial rule since 1910, most were young men claiming to be refugee students, but there were also picture brides, wives, and children of Korean alien residents.  To circumvent the Japanese government’s ban on Korean emigration, many had to steal across the northern Korean border into Manchuria and make their way to Shanghai, where they could book passage on an American steamer going to the United States.  Some were lucky enough to secure Japanese passports that allowed them to travel directly to the United States.  Among the lucky ones was three-year-old Rose Park.

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Pera, Philipos : Locked Out by the Quota Law: The Case of Philipos Pera, Assyrian Refugee by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1922

World War I and religious persecution wrecked havoc in the pastoral life of Christian Assyrians in Persia and the Ottoman Empire.  Their participation in the war, fighting on the Allied side with the Russians and the British, left them vulnerable to massacres by Turks, Kurds, and Persians of the Moslem faith.  By the end of the war, nearly 100,000 Assyrians, along with tens of thousands of Armenians, had been slaughtered, their homes looted, their lands destroyed, and their women carried away.  Approximately 10,000 Assyrians found shelter in Russian Transcaucasia while many others escaped to Europe, Australia, and the Americas.  Over 600 men, women, and children sought refuge in the United States, 200 arriving in San Francisco on Japanese ships from Yokohama between 1918 and 1922. Among them was 16-year-old Philipos Pera.

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Pernik, Zhanna : Zhanna’s Ultimate Destination by Kriti Khari
Year of Arrival 1996

The exodus of Russians to the United States started in the 1880’s. During this exodus the majority of the people who moved to the United States were mostly Jewish. Those Jews who lived in Germany and Russia were degraded in status. In Russia, they were treated as the “other” and were in many cases stripped of their basic rights. They left Russia as settlers and not as sojourners. Settlers are those who cannot return to their home country again or do not wish to return and sojourners are those who leave their countries with an intention to return home. Zhanna Pernik was born on September 15, 1958 in Ukraine, Soviet Union. Zhanna is a Jewish settler who moved to the United States because of the humiliation she faced in Ukraine ever since she was a child. Even though Zhanna was not a part of the Russian migration in the 1880’s, she did have family that moved to the United States before her in the early 1990’s. While she was in Ukraine she lost her brother so her widowed sister-in-law moved to the U.S. with her kids.  Her sister-in-law had to go through a lot of difficulties, especially because she was a widow staying in a European country. She had to go through Austria and Italy before she was allowed to enter the United States. Zhanna believes that her sister-in law’s immigration was very painful compared to hers since she at least had her family that backed her up throughout the process of immigration. Had it not been for them she would also have had difficulty.

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Prokofiev, Sergei : Passage through Angel Island by Jordan Yee
Year of Arrival 1918

Prokofiev was an established pianist and composer in Russia when he journeyed to the United States in 1918 for series of performances.  The following essay by Jordan Yee, an AIISF volunteer and ranger at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, brings to life Prokofiev’s intense four-day detention at the Angel Island Hospital.  Prokofiev was a prolific diarist who kept a detailed and contemplative record of his thoughts and feelings.  Yee’s masterful blending of Prokofiev’s journal entries and citations from Prokofiev’s immigration files provide a fascinating glimpse of one person’s experience at the Immigration Station.

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Quock, Jim (Wah Bo) : My Father Was a Paper Son by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1929

From 1882 until December 1943, immigration restrictions, namely the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, made it nearly impossible for Chinese to immigrate to the United States.  It was the only law in American history to deny citizenship or entry into the United States based upon a specific nationality.  Only merchants, diplomats and sons of citizens were allowed into the U.S.  During the 1920’s 30’s and 40’s many immigrants from China arrived in the United States with purchased citizenships.  Those who utilized this method to enter the U.S. were known as “paper sons.”

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Rohr, Max, Fanni and Gertrude : To Brooklyn via Angel Island, - With Thanks For The Support of Family. by Andrea Bradley
Year of Arrival 1940

AIISF is pleased to present the story of Max, Fanni, and Gertrude Rohr, who fled Nazi-held Vienna in 1940 and made the arduous journey across Russia and China to reach Angel Island in June 1940.  They were among the hundreds of Jewish refugees who found new homes in the U.S. before the Holocaust.    

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