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An Introduction to Picture Brides. Back to your notebook paper: Underneath what you already wrote in class, please write the following – underneath each.

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Picture Brides. Back to your notebook paper: Underneath what you already wrote in class, please write the following – underneath each."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Picture Brides

2 Back to your notebook paper: Underneath what you already wrote in class, please write the following – underneath each statement number 1-3: What is a Picture Bride? Motives of Husbands Motives of the Picture Brides The Marriage Process The Arrival Problems with the Practice

3 For homework go through the slides that share the information about Picture Brides. Share three facts from each slide. You do not need to use complete sentences!

4 Um, what is a Picture Bride? The term picture bride refers to the practice in the early 20th century of immigrant workers (chiefly Japanese and Korean) in Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States selecting brides from their native countries via a matchmaker, who paired bride and groom using only photographs and family recommendations of the possible candidates. This is an abbreviated form of the traditional matchmaking process, and is similar in a number of ways to the concept of the mail-order bride.

5 Motives of Husbands In the late 19th century Japanese and Korean men traveled to Hawaii as cheap labor to work on the plantations. Some continued on to work on the mainland. These men had originally planned to leave plantation work and go back home after a few years or a contract was up. Between the years of 1886 and 1924, 199,564 Japanese entered Hawaii and 113,362 returned to Japan. However, many men did not make enough money to go back home. Also, in 1907 the Gentlemen’s Agreement prohibited immigration from Hawaii to the United States for laborers. ] Because now these men were put in situations with limited mobility, they had to make Hawaii or the United States their home, and part of that was getting married.

6 Motives of the Picture Brides There were many factors that influenced women to become picture brides. Some came from poor families, so they became picture brides for economic reasons. They thought that they would come upon economic prosperity in Hawaii and the United States, and could send back money to their families in Japan and Korea. Others did it out of obligation to their families. Because the marriages were often facilitated by parents, the daughters felt they could not go against their parents’ wishes. One former picture bride recounted her decision: “I had but remote ties with him yet because of the talks between our close parents and my parents' approval and encouragement, I decided upon our picture-bride marriage." Some women became picture brides in an attempt to escape familial duties. They thought that by leaving Japan or Korea they could get out of responsibilities such as filial piety that came along with traditional marriage. With the influx of women becoming picture brides, some women followed the trend as the thing to do. As one Japanese picture bride, Motome Yoshimura, explained, “I wanted to come to the United States because everyone else was coming. So I joined the crowd.”

7 The Marriage Process These Japanese and Korean women got the name picture brides because the men in Hawaii and the United States sent pictures back to their home countries in order to find a bride. Family members, often with the help of a go-between, used these photos to try to find wives for men who sent them. When looking at prospective brides the go-betweens looked at the family background, health, ages and wealth of the women. The process of picture bride marriage was modeled after traditional arranged marriage. Picture bride marriage was not much different from these arranged marriage customs, except instead of the man having little role he had no role. Once the bride’s name was entered into her husband’s family registry, the marriage was considered official in Japan, and she was eligible for travel documents to the U.S. or Hawaii. However, even though this was sufficient in their home countries, it was not considered a valid form of marriage by the American government. Because of this, mass wedding ceremonies were held at the dock or in hotels subsequent to the brides’ arrival.

8 The Arrival It was a rough journey for the picture brides. When they first arrived, they were required to go through numerous inspections at the immigration station. The United States government did not recognize picture marriages as being legal; therefore, the picture brides would meet their soon-to-be husbands for the first time and attend a mass wedding ceremony on the docks. Many of these women were surprised at what they found upon arrival. Most of what the women knew about their husbands before meeting them was based on the photos they had sent. However, the images presented did not always represent the men’s real lives. Men would send photos back to Japan and Korea that were retouched, old, or of different men completely. Men often wore borrowed suits and chose to pose with luxury items, such as cars and houses, that they did not actually own. One picture bride summarizes the feelings of many of the brides subsequent to meeting their husbands, she writes “I came to Hawaii and was so surprised and very disappointed, because my husband sent his twenty-five-year-old handsome-looking picture...He came to the pier, but I see he’s really old, old-looking. He was forty-five years more old than I am. My heart stuck.” On average, the grooms were ten to fifteen years older than their brides. The age of their husbands were not the only shock for the women, they were also taken aback by their living conditions. Many women expected to houses like ones in the photos the men sent them, but instead found plantation quarters that were crude, isolated, and racially segregated. ] One of the reasons that the grooms and go- betweens were not altogether truthful with the future brides was because they believed that the women would not come if they knew the reality of the man and his conditions. ]

9 Problems with the Practice Though initially unhappy, most of the picture brides eventually settled into their marriages or just accepted them so they did not shame their families. Though, there were exceptions to this, and not every marriage worked out. Some of the picture brides, after seeing their husbands for the first time, rejected them and went back to Japan or Korea. Some married husbands that turned out to be alcoholics, physically abusive, or who tried to sell them into brothels, but many stayed in the marriage for the sake of the children. An example of a picture bride who stayed married to her husband, despite his mistreatment towards her, was Shizuko Tamaki; she and her husband were married for 50 years. Others who initially married did not end up staying with their husbands. These picture brides resorted to elopement with another man. Kakeochi was especially hazardous to the picture brides because of its endangerment to their reputation and their residency in the United States. Wives who eloped could be deported to Japan, following the Japanese civil code that granted the husbands the ability to decide the new residency of their wife; for those women, the Women’s Home Missionary Society in the United States provided temporary housing while they waited to go back to Japan.In order to find their wives who had disappeared, the husbands of these women would take out reward ads in community newspapers for whomever could find their wife.

10 Problems with the Practice When vast numbers of picture brides started arriving, it revitalized the Anti-Japanese Movement. The people who were so against the immigration of the Japanese and picture brides were called exclusionists. They called picture bride marriage uncivilized because it didn’t involve love or have any regard to morality; exclusionists believed the women were more like workers rather than wives to the men. Exclusionists also feared that children produced from picture bride marriages would be a dangerous addition to the population because they would be able to buy land for their parents in the future. Also, some people, many immigrant inspectors included, thought that picture bride marriage was a disguise for a prostitution trade. Overall, there was a negative sentiment towards picture brides in Hawaii and the United States.

11 Picture brides arriving at Angel Island, California.

12 Congressional committee members examine passports of Japanese picture brides at the immigration station of Angel Island, Calif., July 25, 1920.


14 Japanese picture brides arrange at Angel Island and are lined up for passport inspection before meeting their new husbands.


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