The thesis examines the history of Japanese immigration to the United States before World War II in the context of the Japan-U.S. relationship. Its main purpose is to draw connections between the changes that occurred in the relationship over the years and the attitude of the West Coast residents toward Japanese Americans.
The first part of the text is therefore dedicated to the development of the
Japan-U.S. relationship with a special focus on the role that the immigration issue played in the process. Moreover, the second chapter describes how this development influenced the way Japanese immigrants were regarded and treated in the United States, especially on the West Coast.
The third chapter then explores the anti-Japanese sentiment on the West Coast in more detail while putting a special emphasis on its motivations. It argues that contrary to a widely held belief, racism was not in fact the foundation stone of the
anti-immigrant propaganda, although it did play an essential part in its formation and subsequent spread.
Consequently, the text lists and examines other components of the anti-Japanese sentiment including the Japanese turn toward militarism in the 1930s. Furthermore,
it traces the way in which all these factors contributed to the worsening situation of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast which climaxed in the President Roosevelt´s decision to relocate them after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.