Usually Americans and Seattlites usually think of Asians as people originating from the "Far East", ie. Japan,Korea, China, Hong Kong,Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam,but interestingly the United States Government considered Japanese immigrees from 1790 to 1906 to be "free white persons" and therefore acceptable candidates for citizenship.
In the 1960's when I was growing up in the International District, which the hub for Asian commerce and socialization in the Pacific Northwest but did include other groups such as African Americans,my parents met, married and lived in the International district, they resided in apartments above a black owned drug store on 5th and Jackson. After we moved to the "Central Area" we continued to have Dr.' Suzuki as our General Partitioner, and had our prescriptions filled at Tokuda Drugs and our auto mechanics were Kono Garage and its later offshoot Capitol Hill Automotive. I attended Seattle Dojo (Kodokan Judo),was entertained at The Nippon Kan Theater, the Kokusai (Toho Cinema) and Toyo Cinema Theaters , and usually bought special gifts and Christmas presents at Tubo, Higo's, Sun Ya and Sun Wah, or Uwajimiya. My friends went to Chinese School, Japanese School, or activities at Filipino Youth Activities (FYA), we all basically attended the same schools, primarily Garfield, Franklin and Cleaved High Schools, many of us have remained good friends over the decades. My mentors such as :Jesse Glover friend and fellow martial artist with Bruce Lee, the Late Frank S. Fujii whom a lot of black, white and Asian youngsters credit for learning athletic and artistic skills as well as living a positive - ethical life.
The term Asian usually refereed to Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Koreans. Everyone knew the Cause Celiberties of the community such as; restaurateur and social - Council member leader Ruby Chow , you could see; Chinese martial artist Bruce Lee walking around the ID with his black friend and training partner Jesse Glover, watch Seattle Council person Wing Luke pausing to talk with ID residents, have your vehicle worked on a few blocks away on 12th at Kono's Garage, or see a a Chinese, Filipino, or Japanese movie at the Kokusai Theater on Manyard and Jackson.
When a dear friend and mentor Hiro Moriyasu died recently, I felt a great loss not only for myself and his family, but for those who would never a truly noble and positive person. When I first met Hiro some guest were asking about the size of his hometown Portland, Oregon, Hiro instantly replied in a seemingly innocuous tone " Corporated or Uncorporated?", those of us appreciated his subtle sense of humor and sophisticated quick wit. But Hiro like other great achievers bare the burden of the "Model Minority " stigma, those who are prejudice against Asians still view them as the "Yellow Peril" and instituted the Asian Exclusion Act, and now the Asian in the Pacific Northwest includes more the just Chinese and Japanese descendants.
In 1909 Seattle hosted the Alaska - Yukon Exposition, which had a tribal village with a true Filipino tribe on exhibit, in that same area in 1935 at University of Washington 100 Filipino graduates; entered Seattle's economy with doctorates and Master's degree only able to get jobs as domestics. From WWII to the present time Filipino military personal have served with distinction,during October 2005 King County Councilman Larry Gosset and King county Executive Ron Simms will honor local Filipinos for their distinguished service during World War II. In 1981 2 Local 37 officers(Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes) were gunned down outside their Seattle office, by henchmen working for President Marcos, but because of Marcos' close relationship with the US Government no real sanctions occurred.
Return to Jose Greco's Global Village.