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Old 11-11-2010, 07:56 PM
 
Location: New York
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Default Did flushing, queens ever had a japanese population before?

I just want to know did flushing, queens ever had japanese living in the area before the chinese and koreans moved in the neighborhood?
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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No, not to my knowlege. Until the late 60s and early 70s, Flushing had very few Asian people. By the early 80s, there were a lot of Koreans. I am not sure about Chinese but many Koreans were taking up residense.

That has been my experience.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Hudson Valley of New York
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Nope. The Asians really started to come in the 90s especially in the mid to late 90s.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:36 AM
 
Location: New York
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From what i know i heard that flushing, queens use to have a moderate sized japanese population in the late 1950s but have moved from flushing in the 1970s due to the economic downturn in the neighborhood.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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yes, flushing most definitely had a moderately sized japanese population as recently as the late 1970s (not sure when they first moved in, but i'd guess the mid-1960s). my family moved to flushing in the early 1970s (before i was born) and were one of the only koreans in what was then a heavily white neighborhood. there weren't that many asians in flushing at the time, but virtually all of the ones who were there were japanese. hardly any koreans or chinese back in those days, which seems unfathomable in the present.

based on what my parents tell me, flushing in the mid-1970s was around 5% asian (mostly japanese), which was actually a relatively high number for the nyc region outside of manhattan's chinatown. most of the rest of flushing's residents were non-hispanic whites - primarily irish, jews, italians, and germans. in fact, the reason why my family moved there from elmhurst in the first place was not because of any overriding asian influence - on the contrary, it was my dad's jewish co-worker who suggested flushing as a nice place to live, as he was a lifelong resident of the neighborhood and considered it much more stable than the areas to the west.

somewhere in my parents' basement, there's an old photo of my brother's kindergarten class from the late 1970s. he attended a local public school which drew from the neighborhood, and in that picture there were only about 5 or 6 asians out of a class of 25 or 30 - and all of the asians were japanese except for my brother. virtually everyone else in the photo were non-hispanic whites (there may have been a few hispanics, not sure; haven't seen the photo in ages).

then during the early '80s (coincidentally right when we moved out to the suburbs), the neighborhood experienced a rapid demographic shift, with tons of koreans moving in and setting up korean-oriented shops along main street. many of flushing's white residents and businesses moved out at that time, and virtually all of the neighborhood's japanese population left as well. by the middle of the decade, korean businesses had established a solid presence around the main/roosevelt/kissena area, with most of the remaining white-owned businesses about to turn over to asians within the following 5-7 years. just guessing here, but i'd bet that flushing's white population declined by at least 30-40% from 1980 to 1985 (with a very sharp exodus around main street and perhaps a more gradual exodus in the neighborhood's northern and eastern fringes), while the japanese population became pretty much non-existent by 1985, if not sooner.

then in the late '80s/early '90s, a huge number of chinese (especially taiwanese) moved into the area and steadily pushed the koreans off of main street and further east toward union street, parsons boulevard, and beyond. unlike the koreans, who rented the storefront spaces along main and roosevelt from caucasian landlords, the chinese shrewdly bought a number of the buildings near the intersection of main and roosevelt. and then in virtually the blink of an eye, the area's commercial tenants shifted from koreans to chinese, resulting in the huge chinese enclave that still exists today around the main street subway station.

within a 15 year period, main street shifted from an all-american business district (1980) to a heavily ethnic korean strip (mid-to-late 1980s) and then a chinese-dominated one (early-to-mid-1990s), with the street virtually devoid of any significant clusters of white or korean businesses by the mid-1990s.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:36 AM
 
Location: North shore, Long Island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metatops View Post
From what i know i heard that flushing, queens use to have a moderate sized japanese population in the late 1950s but have moved from flushing in the 1970s due to the economic downturn in the neighborhood.

Sounds like you already knew the answer to your own question. It does bring up another intereting question. Are there any Japanese enclaves in the New York metro area?
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:25 AM
 
Location: New York
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There are no Japanese enclaves in new york city but however the east village in manhattan is a japanese neighborhood with japanese bars, supermarkets and resturants catering to the community.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:30 PM
 
Location: New York
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Originally Posted by pbergen View Post
yes, flushing most definitely had a moderately sized japanese population as recently as the late 1970s (not sure when they first moved in, but i'd guess the mid-1960s). my family moved to flushing in the early 1970s (before i was born) and were one of the only koreans in what was then a heavily white neighborhood. there weren't that many asians in flushing at the time, but virtually all of the ones who were there were japanese. hardly any koreans or chinese back in those days, which seems unfathomable in the present.

based on what my parents tell me, flushing in the mid-1970s was around 5% asian (mostly japanese), which was actually a relatively high number for the nyc region outside of manhattan's chinatown. most of the rest of flushing's residents were non-hispanic whites - primarily irish, jews, italians, and germans. in fact, the reason why my family moved there from elmhurst in the first place was not because of any overriding asian influence - on the contrary, it was my dad's jewish co-worker who suggested flushing as a nice place to live, as he was a lifelong resident of the neighborhood and considered it much more stable than the areas to the west.

somewhere in my parents' basement, there's an old photo of my brother's kindergarten class from the late 1970s. he attended a local public school which drew from the neighborhood, and in that picture there were only about 5 or 6 asians out of a class of 25 or 30 - and all of the asians were japanese except for my brother. virtually everyone else in the photo were non-hispanic whites (there may have been a few hispanics, not sure; haven't seen the photo in ages).

then during the early '80s (coincidentally right when we moved out to the suburbs), the neighborhood experienced a rapid demographic shift, with tons of koreans moving in and setting up korean-oriented shops along main street. many of flushing's white residents and businesses moved out at that time, and virtually all of the neighborhood's japanese population left as well. by the middle of the decade, korean businesses had established a solid presence around the main/roosevelt/kissena area, with most of the remaining white-owned businesses about to turn over to asians within the following 5-7 years. just guessing here, but i'd bet that flushing's white population declined by at least 30-40% from 1980 to 1985 (with a very sharp exodus around main street and perhaps a more gradual exodus in the neighborhood's northern and eastern fringes), while the japanese population became pretty much non-existent by 1985, if not sooner.

then in the late '80s/early '90s, a huge number of chinese (especially taiwanese) moved into the area and steadily pushed the koreans off of main street and further east toward union street, parsons boulevard, and beyond. unlike the koreans, who rented the storefront spaces along main and roosevelt from caucasian landlords, the chinese shrewdly bought a number of the buildings near the intersection of main and roosevelt. and then in virtually the blink of an eye, the area's commercial tenants shifted from koreans to chinese, resulting in the huge chinese enclave that still exists today around the main street subway station.

within a 15 year period, main street shifted from an all-american business district (1980) to a heavily ethnic korean strip (mid-to-late 1980s) and then a chinese-dominated one (early-to-mid-1990s), with the street virtually devoid of any significant clusters of white or korean businesses by the mid-1990s.
So since flushing's japanese population moved out of the neighborhood, where did they move to? Did they move to manhattan? Are there japanese still left in flushing today or not?
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:38 PM
 
Location: North shore, Long Island
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Originally Posted by Metatops View Post
So since flushing's japanese population moved out of the neighborhood, where did they move to? Did they move to manhattan? Are there japanese still left in flushing today or not?

Yeah. Where are the Japanese? What burb are they hiding in?
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Metatops View Post
So since flushing's japanese population moved out of the neighborhood, where did they move to? Did they move to manhattan? Are there japanese still left in flushing today or not?
you have to understand something - the overwhelming majority of japanese in the nyc area over the past 40+ years have not followed the traditional immigrant settlement patterns and did not come to this country for the same reasons as other immigrants.

most immigrants to nyc over the years - whether they're italians, jews, irish, poles, russians, dominicans, koreans, indians, or any number of other groups - moved to the area with the full intention of permanently residing in the states. they came to this country to start a new life and raise their children as americans. the kids grow up here and, as the generations pass, steadily (or sometimes rapidly) lose their connection to the old country. many of the first generation immigrants are forced to work in grueling, blue collar jobs even if they were well-educated in the mother country, and aim to give their kids a good education so that they can assimilate and become productive members of the general society.

by contrast, a very high percentage of japanese in the nyc area are one of two things:
1) a white collar office worker (usually a male) for a company in japan who is sent overseas to the u.s. for a temporary (usually five year) stint, then returns to japan once the assignment is completed. the office worker brings his spouse and kids with him to the u.s., and a few years later they all go back to japan together. now, i do know of a handful of people in this situation who deviated from this course - the husband went back to japan after five years while the wife and kids stayed in the u.s. to take advantage of this country's educational system - but those people are very much the exception.
2) a young foreign student who is here temporarily, or a young foreign expat who uses mommy and daddy's money to bum around for a few years (or even months) and have fun in america while not really doing anything of value. i know a handful of japanese americans who were born and raised in nyc because their parents, who were foreign expats/students in the '60s/'70s, decided to stay and raise their kids in the u.s. again, though, these people are not the norm.

the common denominator between these two types of japanese in nyc is that they're transient and wealthy (or at least their parents have $$$) - it seems that just as soon as they arrive, they're already on their way back to japan. that's why there is no entrenched, multigenerational japanese neighborhood in the region like the chinese, koreans, indians, and other groups do. there are very few japanese who were actually born and raised in nyc and continued to live in the area long-term past their childhood years, nor are there many first generation japanese who have endured the traditional nyc immigrant experience (living paycheck to paycheck in ratty apartments and rough neighborhoods and working long hours in grueling jobs like busboys, taxi cab drivers, etc).

contrast that with the numerous second generation chinese, koreans, indians, dominicans, colombians, russians, and others who never really had the option to go back to the old country and end up becoming dyed-in-the-wool new yorkers and americans.

another thing to keep in mind is that japan has been in a long and very difficult recession since the early '90s. because of this, not as many japanese companies could afford to send their office workers overseas compared with the '70s and '80s. similarly, not nearly as many wealthy young foreign students could afford to come to this country because their parents were in a more precarious financial situation.

this meant that the japanese community, which was never too large to begin with since its people were always coming and going, had no chance to grow and set down roots in the region. by contrast, cities like los angeles, san francisco/san jose and of course honolulu have a large population of 3rd/4th/5th generation japanese americans, so the community is well-established in those places.

nowadays, the nyc area's japanese community tends to live wherever white yuppies or hipsters live. the largest concentrations of japanese office workers are in midtown east (east 40s and 50s) and fort lee/cliffside park/edgewater, nj, although there are also smaller populations in places like ridgewood, nj and new rochelle, ny, among other suburban locations. meanwhile, japanese foreign students tend to live downtown near major universities such as nyu/cooper union/parsons - that's how st. marks place became a magnet for young japanese and is the reason why that area has so many japanese businesses. generally speaking, the east village is probably the biggest (or at least most famous) young japanese enclave in the city, although there are also japanese on the lower east side/nolita, williamsburg (again, the hipster thing), harlem, upper west side/upper east side, etc. there are also some japanese in the same western queens neighborhoods where young white people have moved in recent years - long island city, sunnyside, woodside, and jackson heights.

overall, though, midtown east, the east village, and north jersey near the gw bridge are the three main centers for the region's japanese population, stores, and restaurants.

and as i mentioned in my first post, there really hasn't been any sort of japanese community in flushing since the early '80s; koreans pushed them out of the neighborhood a generation ago.

i'm sure there a handful of japanese individuals who randomly live in flushing for the cheaper rents and access to the 7 train/LIRR, but really, that's no different than the japanese who live in any other random queens or nyc neighborhood.
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