Select Text Level:

On February 8, 1885, about 900 Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii. The Japanese would quickly become one of the island kingdom’s largest ethnic groups. Today, about 14% of Hawaii’s population has Japanese ancestry.
 
Most of the immigrants aboard the City of Tokio were single men. They came looking for greater financial opportunities, and quickly found work in Hawaii’s enormous sugar cane plantations. Japanese immigrants performed backbreaking labor weeding and cutting sugar cane. Japanese women often arrived as “picture brides,” having only seen pictures of their future husbands (and their husbands of them) before leaving Japan.
 
Japanese immigrants were able to maintain strong cultural traditions in Hawaii, including establishing Buddhist temples and the first Japanese schools in what would be the United States. (Hawaii became a territory in 1898 and a state in 1959.) 
ancestry
Noun

family (genealogical) or historical background.

Buddhist
Noun

person who follows the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).

Noun

agricultural produce.

enormous
Adjective

very large.

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

ethnic
Adjective

having to do with characteristics of a group of people linked by shared culture, language, national origin, or other marker.

financial
Adjective

having to do with money.

harvest
Noun

the gathering and collection of crops, including both plants and animals.

immigrant
Noun

person who moves to a new country or region.

Noun

type of government with a king or queen as its leader, or the land ruled by that king or queen.

labor
Noun

work or employment.

plantation
Noun

large estate or farm involving large landholdings and many workers.

temple
Noun

building used for worship.

tradition
Noun

beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.