About the Project

The Nikkei Newspapers Digital Archive (NNDA) project began to take shape in 2011 with the establishment of the non-profit Hokubei Hochi (North American Post) Foundation. It had been the long-held vision of Tomio Moriguchi, publisher of The North American Post, to establish a non-profit foundation that would carry out educational and civic activities related to the newspaper.

The new foundation was established in June 2011 with the hiring of Elaine Ikoma Ko as Executive Director. Soon after, Ko began working on the goal of permanently preserving and making accessible over 100 years of The North American Times and its successor, The North American Post.

Ko contacted the University of Washington Libraries to discuss the possibility of working together on a digital archive of the Hokubei hōchi/North American Post backfiles and a partnership was soon established. Seed funding was secured from a local funder, 4Culture. 4Culture also provided funding to properly preserve the old physical issues in archival storage boxes which are now housed at the current newspaper offices.

The project took shape over the next four years, and has gone through various transformations and encountered difficult technical challenges (see “Digitization Process”). Very few Japanese language newspaper backfiles have been digitized, and we soon found out why that is the case. By 2013, we had a good idea of what would be possible with limited funding and but also recognized that this project could be breaking new ground.

World War II and the interment of Japanese Americans in 1942-1946 interrupted the publishing of many Japanese American newspapers. The post-WWII North American Post newspaper dates back to 1946 and is currently published weekly through its offices in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District. The pre-WWII paper was published by Hokubei jiji/North American Times beginning in 1902.

Indeed, we found periods of missing issues. These gaps make it more imperative to preserve what is available, and we hope by making this collection accessible, that the missing issues can be located.

NNDA is an open access resource. Once the entire collection is digitized, we hope to expand the Archive to eventually include other historical Japanese newspapers published in the Pacific Northwest. It is a very rich tradition within Japanese American communities and worthy of improved universal access which digitization will provide.

This landmark project has received support from several important sources (see “Donors”) and the dedication of many. The Hokubei Hochi Foundation has provided student interns, editorial expertise, translators, staffing, and volunteers. The UW Libraries has provided scanning equipment, hundreds of student assistant hours, and technical support through the Libraries Digital Initiatives office. The Libraries is also hosting the website.

This project preserves and makes accessible the rich history of Seattle’s Japanese American community and we hope it will serve to enlighten and educate for many generations to come.