Ehmer opened his first Queens location
in the German enclave of Ridgewood in
the 1940s and the company, with locations
in Glendale, Fresh Meadows and beyond,
is an international distributor of German
Even though according to census statistics the
Japanese were among the first Asian groups to
arrive here, the 2000 Census counted only 5,103
Japanese people in the borough. This makes the
group one of the smallest Asian populations in
Queens. The reason? Most Japanese come here with
their companies, and so are more likely live in
Manhattan where they can be closer to work.
Where They Live
As many Japanese already have jobs when they get
here, it means they also already have money. With
the ability to afford the higher rents, there’s
been a small emergence of Japanese communities
in the residential neighborhoods of Long Island
City, Elmhurst and Western Queens. The areas still
give relatively easy access to Manhattan.
They Got There
Japanese immigrants arrived here in large numbers
during the late 1950s, while the Chinese and Koreans
came in the 1960s. The Japanese first moved into
Flushing, but most moved away when the economy
took a downturn in the 1970s.
Who They Are
Unlike Chinese and Korean communities, Japanese
immigrants in general don’t live close together.
Taiko Drummers perform at the Sakura Matsuri
Cherry Blossom Celebration at Flushing
Meadows Corona Park. Tribune photo by
Brian M. Rafferty
and Korean immigrants have very like circumstances,”
a representative from the Japanese Consulate says.
“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.”
Last Saturday, Councilman John Liu turned out
with Ambassador Hiroyasu Ando, Consul General
of Japan, to launch the Sakura Matsuri Cherry
Blossom Celebration at Flushing Meadow Park. The
celebration, mixing ancient cultural performances
and cherry tree planting, is a springtime staple
for Japanese communities worldwide.
Suffice it to say, most Japanese did not stay
in the United States, or send for their families,
in the 1950s and 1960s because of the hostility
in New York after World War II. The Japanese Consulate
agrees, but reminds that things have changed in
the last 50 years.
“That’s way in the past now,”
he says of the friction between Americans and
Japanese. “The relationships now are very,
very good. At the time—there weren’t
many problems—but it was rough time period.”
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