Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Woo, Moon Sern : Shek Shan by Steve Woo Low
Year of Arrival 1921

Eddie Low, aka Woo Moon Sern, 胡滿常 (1906–1974) was the youngest of 8 children. He immigrated from 泥涌村 南海 九江, disembarked at the Angel Island Immigration Station from the Taiyo Maru on June 25, 1921. During this period the Chinese Exclusion Act restricted Chinese from immigrating to the United States. In order to circumvent the Act, he entered the United States as a paper son, Low Bong. After 143 days of confinement at the Angel Island Immigration Station, on November 14, 1921, he finally arrived in San Francisco.

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Yamada, Asataro : Rev. Asataro Yamada's Detention on Angel Island Due to His Religious Practices by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1898

Reverend Asataro Yamada had an interesting life in the American West after emigrating from Japan, and became a priest in the Konko Church in 1933. This led to his questioning by the FBI in 1942 and his eventual internment at Angel Island and then Lordsburg, New Mexico. For more information on the Japanese detainees on Angel Island during World War II, visit this page.

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Akizaki, Takeo : Takeo Akizaki: American Citizen Detained Twice on Angel Island During World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

Takeo Akizaki was one of nineteen men detained on Angel Island from August 5 to 7, 1942. This group was composed of men from Hawai`i, and according to Yasutaro Soga, all were U.S. citizens. Akizaki, who had also been detained on the island in March of that year on his way to Department of Justice camps, became a Shinto priest, and his beliefs were instrumental in his detention in these camps for most of the duration of World War II.

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Satow, Chokichi : Chokichi Satow – “Double Angel” Detained on Angel Island at Least Twice by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1903

Chokichi Satow, also known as Hisashi Fushimi, is one of the people confirmed in our research who spent time on Angel Island both as a returning immigrant and as an internee during World War II. Not only did he get questioned during the process of returning from Japan to the U.S., but after World War II broke out, he was detained on the island when it served as a temporary internment center for the Department of Army. For more information on internees of Japanese descent on Angel Island, please visit this page.

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Chooey, Leon  : "Don't Forget Whose Child You Are" by Jeanie Low
Year of Arrival 1931

Jeanie Low tells the story of her father, Leon Wong Chooey as he overcame the Chinese Exclusion Act and its effects.

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Hoshida, George Yoshio and Tamae : The Hoshidas’ Journeys Through Angel Island during World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1912

Hilo residents George Yoshio Hoshida and Tamae Hoshida both traveled through Angel Island during World War II. George was one of 109 Japanese immigrants branded as “enemy aliens” and sent from Hawai'i who arrived on a ship in San Francisco and then Angel Island in May of 1942. They were on their way to Department of Justice and U.S. Army internment camps in Texas and New Mexico. Tamae left one daughter behind in Hawai`i, traveled with three of her children to join George in a U.S. concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas, but had to wait nearly a year before he was released from the Santa Fe camp to join her. Tamae and her children briefly stopped on Angel Island on their way to Arkansas. For more information on Japanese Americans on Angel Island during World War II, visit our website here.

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Hishida, George : George Hishida – A Life in Photography Interrupted by World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1913

George Mioya Hishida immigrated to the United States from Fukushima, Japan in 1913 and developed a thriving photography business in Fresno. Unfortunately, reports from a misguided informant resulted in his arrest and internment away from his family for over a year during World War II.  This story includes a copy of a rare letter he wrote from Angel Island requesting his release, copies of letters from his wife and daughter, and insights from his daughter Grayce. For more information on Japanese Americans on Angel Island during World War II, visit our website here.

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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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Yanagioka, Kane : A Legacy of Love by Judy Kawamoto, edited by Kelsey Owyang
Year of Arrival 1913

In 2010, nearly 100 years after Japanese immigrants Gonpei and Kane Yanagioka reunited in California, AIISF interviewed the couple’s daughter, Shizue. She recounts her immigrant parents’ challenging – but ultimately joyful – life in the United States.

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Hoh, Harry Sai and Woo Shee : Harry Sai Hoh (Hoh Sai Hoo) and Woo Shee Hoh by Laurene Wu McClain
Year of Arrival 1918

This biography is based on a) stories that were told to me by various family members, b) statements from my grandparents’ immigration papers preserved at the United States National Archives in San Bruno, California, c) information from an oral history that I took of my mother Helen Hoh Wu, in 1993, and d) my own remembrances of these grandparents who nurtured me as a young girl and woman growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Ito, Kaoru Okawa : Kaoru Okawa Ito: Entrepreneur, Teacher, Pioneer, Independent Before Her Time by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1919

Japanese immigrant Kaoru Okawa Ito was an entrepreneur, educator, and artist, operated sewing schools in Oakland and Stockton, taught tea ceremony and flower arrangement, and was one of the first Japanese Americans to become a naturalized citizen in 1953,  shortly after the ban on Japanese naturalization, in effect since 1790, was finally lifted.

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Lee, Mrs. Yoke Suey : Mrs. Lee Yoke Suey's Fifteen Month Detainment on Angel Island by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1923

"Detained at Liberty's Door" is the story of the unjust detention of one individual, Mrs. Lee Yoke Suey, and the battle to secure her release. In the video is a film clip by Freida Lee Mock, from her 1974 documentary, Jung-Sai: Chinese Americans, of a visit by Mrs. Lee's daughter to the barracks where her mother was detained for 15 and a half months. It is a rare glimpse of the Angel Island Immigration barracks from the 1970s, long before they were renovated 2000's. Please watch the 12-minute story below.

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Fong, Hong May : A Life's Adventure of a Paper Daughter: Fong Hong May (Helen Fong) by Calvin Fong
Year of Arrival 1925

After the death of Fong Poy’s (aka Fong Wan) second wife, Fannie Ng in 1924, he didn’t trust his own instincts in selecting another wife.  He decided to have a traditionally-arranged marriage through his parents in China, and requested his mother and sisters to select a young woman who would be compatible with his strong (albeit, stubborn) character.  Since his family believed in horoscopes, they most likely consulted the Chinese astrological charts and horoscopes of prospective brides for mutual compatibility. They interviewed several eligible girls from the nearby villages and decided on a young woman from the Lee clan.  Back-and-forth negotiations ensued between the two families, with probing questions from the Lee family concerning Fong Poy’s character, demeanor and ability to care for his new wife.  After an agreement was made, Fong Poy gave a large dowry to the Lee family as per Chinese custom.  The selected maiden was the envy of her friends and other eligible girls because the chosen one would marry a prosperous “wah que” (overseas Chinese) living in America.

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