Search Your Japanese Roots

Searching Your Japanese Roots
If you know the nameof your ancestor…
STEP 1: Get a copy of immigration cards at the Consulate-General of Japan!

The Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu keeps registration cards of Japanese citizens who immigrated to Hawaii and their family members spanning from the 1880s to 1970s (*).
Get the application form from  or through email ( Fill out the form and submit it to the Consulate-General office. You need a proof of relationship between the applicant and the person on the immigration card (ex. birth certificate) at the time of application.

Immigration card example

Surname Domicile (in Japan)
First Name Relationship Date of Arrival Date of Birth Address (in Hawaii) Remarks (date/place of death, etc.)

* Information reported and collected on voluntary basis: may only be partial.
** The Consulate-General office will also provide information about the municipal government in Japan where the family’s permanent address is registered.

STEP 2: Get a copy of the Koseki Tohon (Japanese official family registry)!
Once you obtain a copy of the immigration card, you can also obtain a copy of your family’s official registry in Japan. If interested, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) offers assistance for obtaining and translating your copy of the Koseki Tohon. Refer to the following URL for details.

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Tokioka Heritage Resource Center
2425 South Beretania St. Honolulu, HI 96826
Tel: 808-945-7533 ext.42 (Genealogical Research Assistance)


STEP 3: Get additional resources
Refer to the Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu finding roots resource list for a detailed list of places and resources available to you in searching your roots!

Click here for finding roots resource list

STEP 4: Visiting Japan
After obtaining your ancestor’s information from Step 1~3, you may want to find out more about your Japanese relatives or your family gravesites in Japan. Before planning a trip to Japan, there are few things you should be aware of.

  1. Try to verify existence of family members and/or gravesites BEFORE making the trip to Japan. If you cannot find your Japanese relatives, your temple in Hawaii may be able to assist you in locating your family gravesite in Japan.
  2. Find out about available English assistance in Japan. Contact the local municipal office and check availability of English assistance where you plan to visit. Many municipal offices have English websites and they may have English speaking staff that will be able to help you.
  3. Check with the Consulate visa section about visa requirements (U.S. citizens are exempt from visas for up to 90 days when their visits are for tourism, commerce, conference, visiting relatives/acquaintances, etc.)