A Big Success In Small Numbers
Japanese native Hiroshi Machida opened his restaurant Tokyo Steak in
Fresh Meadows two years ago, he noticed that “there are not many”
Japanese people in Queens.
native Hiroshi Machida
owns Tokyo Steak restaurant in
Fresh Meadows, and says the borough’s Japanese population may
be small, but is successful.
Photo by Ira Cohen
live in Manhattan . . . Most Japanese move to Manhattan. Not many in
Queens,” he said.
fact, the 2000 Census counted only 5,103 Japanese people in the borough,
making the group one of the smallest Asian populations in Queens.
said the numbers don’t surprise him. “Most Japanese come here with
their business firms. So they live in Manhattan, where they can be closer
to [their] jobs . . . People come here from Japan because they want to
open a business or because of their work,” he said.
Japanese Consulate’s office agreed, with a representative explaining,
“The economy and government in Japan was not one that people wanted to
get away from. In China and Korea, the governments did not and actually
still do not allow for much opportunity. So people leave to find a better
life . . . It’s different in Japan. People leave to join their firms
overseas, or open a business in America. There are different
to Consulate statistics, there were over 2,000 Japanese firms operating
offices in New York in 2000, with a representative saying, “New York
City is a gateway to the world. The Japanese have good business
relationships with America, so it makes sense to have offices there . . .
In truth, most Japanese people in America live in California, which is
geographically closer to Japan. But more firms are moving to New York
Consulate representative also mentioned that Japanese people who come to
New York City “already have money,” and are able to live in Manhattan.
The representative said, “Japanese people can afford, normally, to live
near their jobs in Manhattan. That’s why they congregate there . . . We
are seeing an emergence of some Japanese communities in Long Island City,
Elmhurst and Western Queens, however. Many of them want to live near
Manhattan, but in more residential neighborhoods.”
the trend, the Consulate representative said Japanese people do not live
in close communities, and said, “Chinese and Korean immigrants have very
like circumstances. Many Chinese immigrants are in similar situations to
other Chinese immigrants, so living together in tight communities like
Flushing makes sense. That’s not the case with the Japanese. Many of
them know English, they are of all kinds of economic backgrounds, and are
in all kinds of situations. They live all over the place. The Japanese are
spread out. “
agreed, and said that he has seen Japanese people move to Bayside, Little
Neck, Douglaston, Nassau County, Fresh Meadows and New Jersey.
said, “They move everywhere . . . They come here and start families, but
sometimes, they go back. If a businessman comes here for work, he usually
goes back to Japan with his family. Sometimes, they stay . . . Japanese
people don’t send for their families when they come here. Chinese, when
they come, they send their entire family here after them so the family
grows and grows and grows. Not Japanese. They leave their families in
insights may explain why the Japanese are one of the smallest groups in
Queens, even though they were the first Asians to arrive in the borough,
according to Census statistics.
Japanese Consulate representative said, “That’s debateable. But Census
figures seem to show that Japanese people arrived here in the late 1950s,
while the Chinese and Koreans came in the 1960s. The Japanese moved into
Flushing, but moved when the economy turned bad in the 1970s.”
Consulate representative said that many Japanese did not stay in the
United States or send for their families in the 1950s and 1960s because
“there was still some friction after World War II.” He said,
“That’s way in the past now. The relationships now are very, very good
. . . At the time, there weren’t many problems, but it was rough time
said that the number of Japanese people coming to America varies based on
the Japanese economy, and said that fewer Japanese are coming to America
currently. He added, “When the economy is better, more businesses will