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Japan Emigration and Immigration
Emigrant Passenger Lists and Assorted Papers on Emigrant Shipping (Ryokaku Meibo to Imin Unsosen Mondai Zakken)
What they are
These records were generated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japanese Diplomacy office at the time when people emigrated from Japan. They cover the time period of 1868—1940. This is a very reliable source.
Use these records to
These records are used to identify the permanent domicile of the head of the household, which is helpful in obtaining the koseki. These records are good linkage records. They are particularly helpful for American researchers who are trying to determine where their Japanese ancestor came from.
It is almost impossible, however, to find information on these records because they are listed by the shipping company name and some of the destinations where people are going. If you search by the name of the author (Diplomacy Record Office), you will get a list of the records by title (for example, List of Workers Going to Hawaii). These records are in Japanese. Ask someone who knows Japanese to help you search them by rolling through the microfilm one entry at a time. Once they are indexed, these records will be much easier to use.
- Lists of emigrant travelers
- Papers on emigration policies
- Business activities and agents
- Lists of emigrants who died abroad
- Passport applications
- Emigrant travel permits
- Passports issued
- Lists of names of Japanese emigrants, as well as fields on foreigners in Japan
The kind of information varies. Most include:
- Emigrants’ names, ages, and places of origin
- Permanent domicile and temporary residence
- Emigration dates, birth dates, and birth places
- Destinations and passport numbers
- Applications by Japanese abroad inquiring after the well-being of their families in Japan
- Many provide specific birth dates and even marriages or death dates.
How to obtain them
The Family History Library has all of these records on microfilm.
Immigration Records (Passenger Lists and Ship Manifests in the Language of the Port Where They Arrived)
Immigration records must be searched by locality for lists. For example, search by California, San Francisco – Emigration and immigration records.
Most incoming passenger arrival lists for the United States have been indexed and are available online at Ancestry.com ($), a subscription website, such as:
- Honolulu, Hawaii, Passenger Lists, 1900-1953 (a free index to these records is also available at FamilySearch)
- California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957
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