CHNC: The Largest Digital Collection of Colorado-based Japanese American Newspapers

You may remember that last January the CHNC team added the Denver Japanese newspaper the Rocky Mountain JIHO, 1969-1997. First published in 1962, the JIHO documents Japanese American community life in Denver and the surrounding areas.

Missing from the online collection were issues from 1962 to 1965 and 1998 to 2007, when the JIHO published its last issue on February 14th. We are happy to announce that we recently filled that gap in the online collection. The Western History & Genealogy department at the Denver Public Library (DPL) generously allowed us to scan their original collection of JIHO issues through the last issue.

Rocky Mountain JIHO, Volume 45, Number 23, February 14, 2007
Towa Twilight Writer Co., Ltd. Typress Towa Type. c 1965. Used for publishing the Rocky Mountain Jiho. Retrieved from History Colorado, (Accessed November 8, 2023.)

Included in those DPL originals were 10 issues, from April 5, 1962 to June 6, 1962, of the Rocky Mountain Journal. The Journal was publisher Toshiro Tsubokawa’s predecessor to the JIHO. In 1962 the Ambassador of Japan, Koichiro Asakai, wrote of Tsubokawa:

Having known you through frequent contacts during your distinguished service as Washington correspondent of YOMIURI SHIMBUN, I am confident that in substance and integrity, your newspaper, ROCKY MOUNTAIN JOURNAL, will measure up to the most exacting standards of journalism.

In searching for additional Japanese titles, the CHNC team quickly discovered that the Rocky Mountain Journal was not the first Japanese newspaper published in Colorado. Even though the small size of the Japanese community in Colorado made the publishing of Japanese newspapers financially challenging, there were several papers published in Denver prior to the arrival of the Rocky Mountain Journal.

The first was the Denba Shinpō (or Denver Shimpo) which reportedly began publishing in 1908. On February 25, 1911 a competitor, The Colorado News, later named The Kororado Shimbun (or The Colorado Shimbun ), emerged in Denver. Initially a semi-weekly, the Shimbun was published by Jōsuke Yamamoto out of a building on 1850 Arapahoe Street, near Denver’s Nihonmachi or Japantown. The paper covered news in the territories east of the Intermountain region, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and New Mexico. In May 1913 the paper became a daily and was published by Junichi Muraoka. Unlike some of the later Japanese papers that catered to both first generation and second generation readers, publishing in both Japanese and English, the Shimbun published almost entirely in Japanese. The CHNC now holds 1062 issues, from February 25, 1911 to June 30, 1916, of the Shimbun. 

Colorado Shimbun, Number 66, October 10, 1911

In 1917 the Shimbun merged with the Denba Shinpō and formed The Santō Jiji (or The Santo Times). The Santō Jiji was published daily from offices at 1930 Lawrence street by editor Kakutarō Nakagawa. Like the Shimbun, the Santō Jiji was published almost exclusively in Japanese. The paper reported on a wide range of stories from world news to local tabloid news. The CHNC now holds 213 issues, from March 13, 1917 to January 26, 1918, of the Santō Jiji.

Sometime between January 26, 1918 and February 7, 1918, Nakagawa renamed the paper the Kakushu Jiji (or Colorado Times). The paper changed ownership in late February 1932 and on March 1, 1932 F. (Fred) I. Kaihara is noted as publisher and editor of the Times. A few English language advertisements began to appear in the Times around 1934. The paper published its first dual language issue on August 20, 1942 possibly in response to second generation subscribers who were now largely fluent in English.

Advertisement, Kakushu Jiji = Colorado Times, Volume 29, Number 3885, August 20, 1942.

Due to restrictions placed on west coast publications, The Times was one of only a few Japanese American papers that published through the war years and it served as a communication link between the day to day events that took place inside the camps and the outside community. The Times greatly expanded its circulation over time, claiming a circulation of over 12,000 copies in January 1946, and continued publication until 1969. The CHNC now holds 9973 issues, from February 7, 1918 to February 10, 1969, of this tri-weekly newspaper.

Norred, Cyril F. Group of Japanese women, men and young girls seated in front of the Colorado Times Offices. [1916-1920]. Retrieved from the Denver Public Library, (Accessed November 8, 2023.)
By the 1930s, the Times often engaged in a sometimes heated rivalry with the Rokkī Nippon (or Rocky Nippon). The tri-weekly published Nippon was a Buddhist paper first published in 1932 and its views were often in contrast to the more Christian oriented Times. Editor Shirō Toda added an English section on October 3, 1941.

Rokkī Nippon = Rocky Nippon, Volume 8, Number 64, October 3, 1941

The title was renamed to the Rokkī Shimpō (or Rocky Shimpo) in 1943 after Toda was arrested and interned for the duration of the war and ownership changed to his eldest daughter Tetsuko Toda. The Rokkī Shimpō ceased publication in 1961. The CHNC holds 139 issues of the Nippon, from October 21, 1939 to April 7, 1943 and 101 issues of the Shimpo, from April 12, 1943 to April 12, 1944

These new additions make CHNC the largest online collection of Japanese newspapers published in Colorado. These newspapers along with the Granada incarnation camp newspapers, also included in CHNC, provide a unique look into Japanese immigration, incarceration and community life in Colorado from 1911 to 2007  – nearly 100 years.