- The Association of Japanese Geographers
- 地理学評論 (ISSN:13479555)
- vol.76, no.12, pp.894-909, 2003-10-01 (Released:2008-12-25)
Three research frontiers need to be explored by geographers in understanding Japanese immigrants and their overseas communities: analyses of immigrant communities in the context of local and national host societies, comparative studies of immigrant groups settled in the same local host society, and economic segregation and occupational sequent occupance. This paper explored the third theme by presenting a case study in southern California prior to World War II. Japanese immigrants successfully attained vertical dominance in production, wholesale, and retail of fruits and vegetables in Los Angeles and the surroundings of southern California from the 1900s through the early 1940s. The process in which Japanese came to occupy such economic niches was documented with special reference to the adaptive strategy they applied in establishing their economic bases. Ethnic organizations and occupational preference played an important role, while growing economy and population created a soaring demand for fresh produce, marketing system had not yet been established, and the role of the Chinese was fading after the turn of the century. Considering the fact that the economic niche that Japanese occupied in the supply of fresh produce was taken over by other immigrant groups following World War II, the idea of “occupational sequent occupance” was proposed. Documenting such sequence in the occupational structure will contribute to the comprehensive understanding of immigrant groups as well as culturalhistorical geography of American cities.