Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Honolulu

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Honolulu

By Alan Brennert

Honolulu
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2009,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2010,
    464 pages.

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Korean Picture Brides
Korea became the object of Japan's colonial ambitions in the late nineteenth century, culminating in Japan's annexation of the region in 1910. Koreans, escaping the abuse and heavy taxation imposed by the Japanese, began immigrating to Hawaii. Approximately 6000 migrated to the islands between 1906 and 1910, 90% of whom were male. Most ended up as laborers on sugarcane plantations. The Japanese government prohibited emigration to Hawaii starting in 1910, but provided an exception for relatives of those already living in Hawaii.

A shortage of marriageable women, combined with the loophole in Japan's immigration laws, allowed for the rise of the "picture bride." A Korean man in Hawaii would provide a photograph of himself to a matchmaker, along with the appropriate fees and expenses. The broker would then arrange for a Korean woman to travel to Hawaii to be the man's wife. Arranged marriages were the norm for Asian cultures; the picture bride system ...

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