Archives-US: Sakata Yasuo Papers, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Sakata Yasuo Papers, The Hoover Institution Finding Aid

Sakata Yasuo (retired from Osaka University) trained at UCLA and was the author of numerous books about early Japanese migration to the US and early US-Japan trade. During his time at UCLA, he worked with Yuji Ichioka and T. Scott Miyakawa to develop the Japanese American Research Project Papers, the most important collection about Japanese American history. His work is especially valuable for Japan scholars because it places early Japanese migration in the context of efforts by the Meiji-era state and individual entrepreneurs to establish direct foreign trade–as opposed to trade mediated by foreign traders in treaty ports that severely disadvantaged Japanese merchants and producers.

This collection, much like the Yuji Ichioka collection, is the fruit of decades of source collection for numerous projects on early Japanese migration and trade, as well as the religious life of emigrants. Comprised of 64 boxes, the collection has drafts and manuscripts of Sakata’s written works and primary sources. Major subjects include the early silk trade with the US, Japanese foreign policy documents about migration and treaty revision, travel guides to America by Fukuzawa Yukichi, Katayama Sen, and others, as well as materials for his published collection of sources about the Fukuinkai (Gospel Society) in San Francisco and the Wakamatsu Colony.

The Sakata papers and the many other essential collections at Hoover can be viewed in the Hoover Library Archives and Reading Room (closed for renovation until early 2020). Please see this site for more information on how to order materials. For questions contact Hoover at: . I also recommend contacting Kay Ueda (, head of the Japanese Diaspora Initiative to inquire about other collections related to your research.

Scholars interested in the early silk trade, porcelain, and art goods trades should see his two edited volumes:

  • Sakata Yasuo 坂田安雄 ed. Meiji nichi-bei bōeki koto hajime: chokuyu no shishi Arai Ryōichirō . Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 1996.
  • Sakata Yasuo 坂田安雄 ed. Kokusai bijinesuman no tanjō: Nichi-bei keizai kankei no kaitakusha 国際ビジネスマンの誕生:日米英材の開拓者 Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shuppan, 2009.

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