Performing a Japanese family history and ancestry research from outside Japan has many challenges. The biggest of these obstacles are distance and language barrier. There are internet resources and references that can assist in researching your Japanese ancestors from outside Japan.
Use the resources available in the United States to start searching for Japanese family history. Start gathering information about your Japanese ancestors such as birth date, social security numbers and date of death using these resources. Search for other information using family history resources from Japan, some of these can be accessed online.
Visit the Social Security Death Index internet site to search for information about Japanese ancestors. This is a large database of US citizens and immigrants administered by the Social Security Administration. It has the names, birth date, date of death, social security number and death location of individuals. Check various name spellings and possible misspellings for your ancestors. Keep in mind the "Americanization" of your ancestor's Japanese names.
Look for Interment Camp records to find information about your Japanese ancestors. Search for the National Archives.gov internet site and look for the Genealogists link. Scroll down and find "The Japanese American Internee Files 1942 - 1946" to find information on ancestors that may have been detainee. If you don't find information on your ancestors using the site, contact the National Archive Office and request it. There is contact information on the site.
Search for Death Records to find information on Japanese ancestors. If you know the state where the person died, a county clerk office generally provides death certificate records. You can also search for obituaries in English and Japanese newspapers and online to find information about your ancestors.
Research the genealogy site Family Search to find information on Japanese ancestors using sources from Japan. This database has links and information on Japanese cemeteries, churches, census records, courts, registries, immigration and genealogy research links. This is an English language site, but this information is provided in Japanese.
Join some of the Japanese family research communities on the internet to learn about studies and information on Japanese ancestry. These communities provide members with valuable leads and research information.
Attend seminars on genealogy research for finding immigrant ancestors. The National Archives have training opportunities in various local branches. Search the National Archives internet site and look for "genealogy training" to find classes in your region.