In this lesson, you learned about early Japanese immigration to the United States as a case study of the migrant experience. Now watch “A Family Immigration Story: The Minetas,” a short video vignette illustrating one Japanese family’s immigration experience. After viewing the video, respond to the prompts below. The video features the recollections of Norman Y. Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation, whose parents immigrated from Japan.
Characterize the Mineta family’s migration experience using the following dimensions: international versus domestic migration, forced versus voluntary migration, push factors, pull factors.
Recall what you learned about Japanese migration and the United States. In what ways was the Mineta family’s immigration experience typical for that time period? In what ways was it atypical?
What U.S. laws and policies at the time affected (or may have affected) the Minetas’ ability to immigrate and integrate into U.S. society?
To what extent have the Minetas successfully integrated into U.S. society over time? Use evidence to support your position.
How, if at all, has the Minetas’ experience in the United States shaped your thoughts on the question, “What does it mean to be an American?”
Kane Watanabe Mineta,
mother of Secretary Norman
Y. Mineta, ca. 1914.
Kunisaku Mineta, father of Norman Y. Mineta, surrounded by family, San Jose, CA, ca. 1956.
Courtesy of Mineta Family