Story: Asia and New Zealand

Gintaro and his wife Isabella, around 1909 (1st of 2)

Gintaro and his wife Isabella, around 1909

Gintaro Nizuhara, a Japanese juggler, toured New Zealand in 1909 as one of the headlining acts of Maskelyne and Devant's magic show. His wife Isabella, who was either English or Scottish, took part in some of his performances. The great popularity of Gintaro's act did not prevent some Gisborne residents from suggesting he was a Japanese spy. Their suspicions were raised when Gintaro was seen taking tourist photos at the local port. Many New Zealanders at that time feared an 'Asiatic invasion' and were suspicious of 'orientals.' At the time of the tour Gintaro was in fact based in London where he had been for the previous nine years.

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Alexander Turnbull Library, Irene Cox Collection
Reference: PA1-q-235-120A

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Capie, 'Asia and New Zealand - Early 20th-century fears', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 12 December 2019)

Story by David Capie, published 20 Jun 2012