S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 31 Number 1/2 (2008)
Photographs of Japanese Picture Bride: Visualizing Immigrants and Practicing Immigration Policy in Early Twentieth-Century United States
- Tanaka, Kei
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.31 No.1, pp. 27-56
- This article demonstrates that the photography and visual documentation of immigrants was used as the powerful tool by the Us immigration officials for controlling Japanese immigrant women. The paper examines images of early twentieth century picture brides held in the National Archives and Record Administration-Pacific Region as an instance. It argues how the visual regimes including portraits, identification photographs, and visual surveillance of immigrants became central to the restriction of specific racialized immigrant groups and the implementation of Us immigration policy. The entry of Japanese women to the United States through picture marriage drew the attention of immigration officers, leading them to the innovation of using photographs intended for marriage agreements for visually documentation of entering immigrant women. The immigration officials, together with local politician and media, viewed the marriage practice as the Japanese device to traffic prostitutes or increase Japanese population in the United States. Officers at different immigration stations thus started to collect the ID photographs and portraits of the entering picture brides. They used photographs to investigate the status of individual picture brides already in the United States, and thus they enforced the immigration policy as well as shaping the racialized idea about the Japanese immigrants. The paper argues, as well, that the Japanese government, Japanese immigrant associations, and immigrants themselves also actively used photography, including their own self-representations in these images, to construct an image of white middle-class respectability.
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