Chinese immigration to California exploded during the 1852 gold rush, but the Japanese government practiced a policy of isolation that thwarted Japanese emigration. It was not until 1868 that the Japanese government reduced restrictions and Japanese immigration to the United States began. Anti-Chinese sentiments motivated American entrepreneurs to recruit Japanese workers.  In 1885, the first Japanese workers arrived in the then independent kingdom of Hawaii. Most Japanese immigrants wanted to live in America permanently and came in family groups, in contrast to chinese immigration of young men, most of whom soon returned to China. They have assimilated to American social norms, as on clothing. Many joined methodical and Presbyterian churches.   Despite the apparent barrier of paper that constituted the „gentlemen`s agreement“, the Japanese continued to enter the United States and the Japanese population continued to grow, both because of the immigration of „image-married“ and the birth of Nisei children. To escape the hostility in Northern California, where most of the former arrivals had settled, many Japanese began to settle in the Los Angeles area. Like hands lent, they were welcomed. As renters and buyers of truck and citrus gardens, they were not. When they felt the pressure of economic competition, angry ranchers, like the workers before them, were increasingly demanding protection.
Several anti-Japanese groups have complained of a violation of the gentlemen`s agreement, referring to the inscription of „image brides“. In response to this anti-Japanese pressure, California Governor Hiram Johnson`s Progressives passed the Webb Heney Act, better known as Alien Land Law, in August 1913, which limited the rental of farmland in Japan to a maximum of three years and prohibited land purchases by Japanese foreigners. Other laws, known as the Anti-Alien Initiative Measure, were passed in 1920 by the California legislature to fill the gaps as far as 1913. This law prohibits the continued transfer or lease of land to Japanese nationals; prescribed acquisition of land by a company in which the Japanese held the majority of the shares; and forbade Issei parents who were not nationals to serve as guardians for their minor children of citizens, as this device had been used with great success by Issei to circumvent the 1913 law.