TIMELINE

JAPAN   THE UNITED STATES
Commodore Matthew Perry with the U.S. Navy delivers an official letter to urge the Shogun regime to open Japanese ports. 1853  
Japanese feudal regime, the Tokugwa Shogunate, signs America-Japan Treaty of Amity, ending the government’s seclusion policy. 1854  
  1855  
  1856  
  1857  
  1858  
  1859  
  1860  
  1861 The Civil War begins (-1865).
  1862  
  1863 Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves.
  1864  
  1865  
The Tokugawa Shogunate permits Japanese citizens to go abroad for the first time. 1866  
The last shogun, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, resigns. Edo era ends with the restoration of the Imperial Rule, crowning the young Meiji Emperor. 1867 Alaska is purchased from Russia.
The first group of Japanese immigrants, “Gannenn Mono,” immigrates to Hawaii without government permit. 1868 An unauthorized group from Aizu Wakamatsu region immigrates to California, establishing a short-lived first Japanese Colony (Wakamatsu Colony) in Gold Hill.
  1869 First transcontinental railroad opens. 
  1870  

The feudal land system is replaced by the prefecture system.

The Japanese government issues passports to Japanese immigrants upon a treaty signed between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Japanese Imperial government.

1871  
  1872  

Japanese government starts policy of nationwide draft for the military.

Meiji Government announces the Japanese Land Tax Reform, changing from payment method from rice or other crops to cash payment.

1873  
  1874  
  1875  
  1876  
  1877  
  1878  
  1879  
  1880  
King Kalakaua of Hawaii visits Japan to meet with the government officials, requests increased number of immigrants to support the agriculture industry in Hawaii. 1881  
  1882 Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, ending Chinese immigration for the next 60 years.
  1883  
The Meiji Japanese government issues official permits for the citizens to travel abroad. 1884 Japanese Consulate opens in Hawaii.

Cabinet gets established. The first Prime Minister is elected.

The first government-organized farmer group immigrates to Hawaii.

1885 Japanese laborers begin arriving in Hawaii, recruited by plantation owners to work the sugarcane fields.
  1886  
  1887  
  1888  
  1889  
  1890  
Mass immigration to California starts. 1891 Union Pacific Railroad starts hiring Japanese immigrants, sending them to Idaho.
  1892  
  1893  
First Sino-Japanese War starts (-1895).

Private immigration agencies start operating.

1894

The republic of Hawaii is established, ending the monarchy. 

A U.S. district court rules that Japanese immigrants cannot become citizens because they are not "a free white person" as the Naturalization Act of 1790 requires.  

Japanese government stops recruiting immigrants, handing down the task to private immigration agencies. 1895  
  1896  
  1897  
  1898 Hawaii is officially annexed to the United States, easing up the immigration policy from Hawaii to the mainland. 
  1899  
  1900 The first large-scale anti-Japanese protest in California is held, organized by various labor groups.
  1901  
  1902  
  1903  
Russo-Japanese War starts (-1905). 1904  
  1905 The Asiatic Exclusion League is formed in San Francisco. In attendance are labor leaders and European immigrants, marking the first organized effort of the anti-Japanese movement.
  1906 The San Francisco Board of Education passes a resolution to segregate children of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ancestry from the majority population.
  1907  
  1908 Japan and the U.S. agree (Gentlemen's Agreement) to halt the migration of Japanese laborers in the United States. Japanese women are allowed to immigrate if they are wives of U.S. residents.
  1909  
  1910  
  1911  
  1912  
  1913 13 states pass the Alien Land Laws, forbidding "all aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning land. This later grew to include prohibition on leasing land as well.
Japan gets involved in World War I. 1914  
  1915  
  1916  
  1917  
  1918  
  1919  
The Japanese Government stops issuing passports to picture brides. 1920  
  1921  
  1922  
  1923  
  1924 Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1924, effectively ending all Japanese immigration to the U.S.
  1925  
  1926  
  1927  
  1928  
  1929  
  1930  
The Imperial Japanese Army invades Manchuria. 1931  
The Japanese government invites the last emperor of China Pu-Yi to create Manchukuo, a puppet state in China. 1932  
Japan withdraws from the League of Nations. 1933  
  1934  
  1935  
  1936  
Second Sino-Japanese War starts 1937  
  1938  
Germany invades Poland. World War II breaks out. 1939  
The Tripartite Pact is agreed by Japan, Germany and Italy. 1940  

Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact is signed.

Japanese army invades French Indochina.

U.S - Japan peace negotiations fail.

Japanese navy bombs the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Japan occupies Guam and Penang, and gains control over Hong Kong.

1941

A U.S. Intelligence report commissioned by President Roosevelt concludes that the great majority of Japanese Americans are loyal to the U.S. and do not pose a threat to national security in the event of war with Japan. 

Martial law is declared in Hawaii.  

U.S. delivers the Hull note demanding that Japan withdraw from China, the last diplomatic communication.

The FBI begins arresting Japanese immigrants identified as community leaders: priests, Japanese language teachers, newspaper publishers, and heads of organizations.

A declaration of war against Japan is brought by the President and passed by Congress. 

Japan occupies Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and Rabaul.

Japan occupies Batavia in Jakarta and Rangoon in Burma.

U.S. conducts the first air bombing in Tokyo.

The U.S. Navy defeats the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway.

The first exchange ship “Asama Maru” transports Japanese immigrants from the United States to Japan.

Japanese army is destroyed in New Guinea.

1942

President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 authorizing military authorities to exclude civilians from any area without trial or hearing. Japanese Americans were the only group to be imprisoned as a result of it. 

General DeWitt begins the process of removing all persons of Japanese ancestry--U.S. citizens and aliens alike. A curfew goes into effect for all those of Japanese ancestry. 

The Wartime Civil Control Administration opens 16 "Assembly Centers" to detain approximately 92,000 men, women, and children until the permanent incarceration camps are completed.  

The President signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority.

The first Civilian Exclusion Order is issued for Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. Forty-five families are given one week to prepare.  

The incarcerated Japanese Americans begin transfer to 10 permanent WRA incarceration facilities or "camps." The WRA, Department of Justice, and other types of confinement sites eventually hold 120,000 people.

Japan withdraws from Guadalcanal.

Greater East Asia Conference is held in Tokyo.

1943 From the results of the "loyalty questionnaire," "disloyal" incarcerees are separated from "loyal" incarcerees.  

Japanese navy is defeated at Battle of the Philippine Sea.

The Hideki Tojo Cabinet resigns.

The first fleet of Kamikaze suicide bombers takes off.

1944 The War Department imposes the draft on Japanese American men, including those incarcerated in the camps. A few hundred resist and are imprisoned in a federal penitentiary.

Japanese army is defeated in Iwo Jima.

Fierce land battles in Okinawa take place.

Japanese Government signs Instrument of Surrender, ending the World War II.

The Supreme Commander for the Allied Power occupies Japan.

1945

The U.S. blanket bombs Japanese cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe.

The U.S. drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. Japan surrenders on August 14.

Some 44,000 people still remain in the camps. Many have nowhere to go, having lost their homes and jobs. Many are afraid of anti-Japanese hostility.

Humanity Declaration is issued by Emperor Showa.

Constitution of the State of Japan is enacted.

1946

Tule Lake "Segregation Center" closes. This is the last War Relocation Authority facility to close.

"You not only fought the enemy but you fought prejudice... and you won." These were the words of President Truman as he received the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. 

  1947  
  1948 President Truman signs the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act. Approximately $38 million was paid from this act.
  1949  
  1950  
  1951  
The Supreme Commander for the Allied Power ends occupation of Japan. 1952 The Senate and House vote the McCarran-Walter Act into law. This bill allows Japanese immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
  1953  
  1954  
  1955  
  1956  
  1957  
  1958  
  1959 Daniel Inouye is first Japanese American to be elected to Congress
  1960  
  1961  
  1962  
  1963  
Olympic games take place in Tokyo. 1964  
  1965  
  1966  
  1967  
  1968  
  1969  
  1970  
  1971  
Okinawa returns to Japan. 1972  
  1973  
  1974  
  1975  
  1976  
  1977  
  1978  
  1979  
  1980 The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians is established calling for a congressional committee to investigate the detention program and the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.
  1981  
  1982  
  1983  
  1984  
  1985  
  1986  
  1987  
  1988 President Ronald Reagan signs HR 442 into law. It offers an apology and reparation payments of $20,000 to each person incarcerated.
  1989  
  1990 In a Washington D.C. ceremony, the first nine redress payments are made.