The early Japanese immigrants came from the southwestern part of Japan. They were mostly farmers and peasants. These people were people that had very little land and were very poor. They came from the rice growing prefectures of Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kumamoto, and Fukuoka. Nine hundred and forty four people were chosen to come on the first boatload to Hawaii and half of those Japanese were from Yamaguchi.
When the immigrants were living in Japan, change for their rice growing buraku ( villages) had not come swiftly. Many people had thought that their life would always be the same and continue on without change. The people that had no land found that they had to be more daring and risk taking. These people soon began to venture out of their own villages to find work in the faster growing cities. The real risk takers were the ones who would venture outside of Japan to find work in Hawaii, Brazil and the United States.