This data collection is a socio-historical study of the ways in which three generations (Issei, Nisei, and Sansei) of Japanese American families adapted to social, cultural, educational, occupational, and other institutions of American life. The study examines the experience of the first immigrants to the United States (Issei), and their children (Nisei) and grandchildren (Sansei). Interviews with Issei families stressed the difficulties faced by the immigrants during their early years in the United States, as well as aspects of social and cultural life. Interviews with Nisei included questions on employment, attitudes toward work, income, education, marriage, social relationships, discrimination, and religion. Topics covered in Sansei interviews included birth order, age, marital status, children, social relationships, occupation, industry, income, education, Japanese value systems, marital choices, influence of parents and grandparents, discrimination, religion, political attitudes, and migration.
Immigrant communities have been an indispensable element of United States metropolitan life, often playing the role of a way station on a long journey of assimilation. Reflecting this, a linear spatial assimilation theory asserts that immigrants settle initially in a segregated urban ethnic enclave and disperse as they achieve economic, social, and cultural assimilation. The growth of suburban immigrant communities over the last couple of decades, however, challenges this traditional notion; suburban residency is no longer the final stage of assimilation. For many new immigrants, suburbia has become the first stop rather than an eventual destination.