Japanese Studies *: Japanese Issei Students

General research guide for Japan/ Japanese studies, consisting of English and Japanese sources.

Japanese Issei Students at USC

This collection contains materials about first generation (Issei) Japanese students at USC during the early twentieth century. Below you will find excerpts from a 1912 yearbook edited by Japanese students and the card catalog of Chinese classics donated by a Japanese alumnus of USC.

南加学窓 Japanese El Rodeo (1912)

ElRodeo1912Coverj南加學窓 第壱号 (南加大學日本人學生會發行) Nanka gakuso/El Rodeo (Japanese Student Association of University of Southern California)

This is a bilingual student yearbook written in Japanese and English by Japanese and Japanese American students of USC. Publication began in 1912; it is unknown when it stopped. USC Libraries' Special Collections holds the 1912 and 1919 issues. The National Diet Library of Japan holds issue no. 2 (1913).

Shown below is the entire Japanese part and an excerpt from the English part from the inaugural issue of 1912. At the time, there were twenty-eight Japanese students at USC, most of whom were kugakusei 苦学生-"student-boy," or "student-laborers." These were Japanese students who supported their living costs and tuition by working as domestic servants. They organized the Japanese Student Association in September 1911 and decided to issue a yearbook in their mother tongue. The English part contains messages from USC's fourth president George F. Bovard; Professor of Philosophy, James H. Hoose; and Professor James M. Dixon, who previously taught English Literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo for thirteen years. 

Student names in this issue include: SHIBUYA Seijiro 渋谷清次郎 and YAMAGUCHI Masaharu 山口正治 who are the founding editors of the Rafu Shimpo, an important Japanese American newspaper; FUJII Sei 藤井整 who fought inequality in the court; and HASEGAWA Shin'ichiro 長谷川新一郎, HOASHI Riichiro 帆足理一郎.

Japanese Part

English Part

P. M. Suski Collection

Below is the card catalog of a collection donated by Dr. Peter Marie Suski, who graduated from USC in 1917. The collection is comprised of 255 titles (1,612 volumes), most of which are Chinese classics. The collection housed in USC Libraries' Special Collections.



Dr. Suski (1875-1961; 須々木榮 Susuki Sakae in his Japanese name), a native of Okayama Prefecture and son of a samurai, came to the United States in 1898. After the 1906 earthquake that destroyed his photo studio in San Francisco, he moved to Los Angeles with his wife and two young daughters. In time, he entered USC to study medicine at the age of thirty-eight. He graduated in 1917 and began a new career as surgeon. During World War II, he spent three years at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Throughout his life, Suski was a regular contributor to the English section of the L.A.-based Japanese newspaper, Rafu Shimpo. He built his library of East Asian language and culture for his children and for future generations. His life came to exemplify the many turbulent challenges, opportunities, and successes experienced by other Issei during the early twentieth century.


Suski Collection Catalog