Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904-1924 | Mechanics' Institute

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Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904-1924
A talk with Fred Schodt and Peter Goodman

a page from the book four immigrants manga

Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama arrived in San Francisco from Japan in 1904, at the age of 19. He studied fine art at the city's Art Institute, but in 1931 wound up publishing what is arguably America's first graphic novel, perhaps even its first "comic book." Frederik L. Schodt's translation of this work was published in 1999 by Stone Bridge Press, of Berkeley, under the title of The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904-1924. In 2000, it was a finalist in the USA Pen/West translation award. Join Mechanics’ Institute member Fred Schodt along with Peter Goodman for an updated talk on this remarkable book, which is attracting more and more attention among both scholars and comic book fans.

photograph of fred schodt

Frederik L. Schodt is an award-winning author of numerous non-fiction books on the convergence of Japanese and American popular cultures. A long-term resident of San Francisco, in 2009 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for helping to introduce and promote Japanese contemporary popular culture. His website is

photograph of peter goodmanStone Bridge Press president and publisher Peter Goodman is a graduate of Cornell University and lived in Tokyo, Japan for ten years, where he worked as an editor for English-language publishers Charles E. Tuttle and Kodansha International before returning to the United States in 1985. He has served as in-house editor, ghostwriter, translator, and project manager on hundreds of Japan- and Asia-related titles. Peter established Stone Bridge in 1989. He is past president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (formerly MSPA) and is currently on the Executive Committee and Treasurer of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association). Visit

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