San Francisco Japantown History Walk

The San Francisco Japantown History Walk is a 10 city block self-guided tour that includes 17 permanent interpretive signs highlighting points of historical and cultural significance of the Japanese American community.

Click the links below to view the Walk.

  San Francisco Japantown Sensu
  What Happened Here
  Injustice & Honor
  Uoki Sakai Market
  Commerce & Community
  Beginnings of Japantown in the Western Addition
  Educating the Nisei
  Heart & Soul
  The Spirit of Nihonmachi
  In the Name of National Security
  Kodomo No Tame Ni (For the Sake of the Children)
  Issei Women’s Legacy
  A New Ballgame
  Internment Camps and Return to Nihonmachi
  Redevelopment to Redress
  San Francisco Japantown Sensu (fan)
  What You Leave Behind

The San Francisco Japantown Japanese American History Walk was created to highlight points of historical and cultural significance throughout San Francisco’s Japantown (Nihonmachi) in order to impart a broader understanding and appreciation of the unique history and legacy of the Japanese American community and the value of cultural and ethnic diversity.

Special acknowledgment is due to the California Japanese American Leadership Council, the Japantown Task Force, Inc. and Governor Gray Davis for their recognition of the value of the legacy of the State’s three historic Japantowns and whose support and cooperation resulted in the funding of this project.

In addition to the individuals, agencies and organizations listed here, this project has drawn deeply upon the guidance and legacy of the countless residents, students and friends of Nihonmachi who have carried on community traditions, shared their lives, and collectively built and nurtured San Francisco’s Japantown. Our work was guided and enriched by our families, friends, teachers and community members. To these many unnamed individuals we extend our deepest appreciation.

The San Francisco Japantown History Walk is a project of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California and is made possible by a grant from the California State Department of Parks and Recreation, 2002 Resources Bond Act, Historical and Cultural Resources Preservation Opportunity Grant Program.
Japantown History Walk Team:
Tony Kaz Naganuma, NDD Creative, Creative Director
Grace Horikiri, NDD Creative, Design Director
Karen Kai, NDD Creative, Lead Writer and Researcher
Robert Rusky, Researcher and Writer
Gerald Takano, TBA West Architects, Architectural
     and Historical Researcher

Rob Kawamura, Production Consultant

Sensu & Sign Fabrication:
Arrow Sign Company
KVO Industries
Winsor Fireform

History Walk site hosts:
Christ United Presbyterian Church
City and County of San Francisco
Japan Center West Associates, LP
Japanese American Citizen’s League National Headquarters
Japanese Cultural and Community Center
   of Northern California
Kinmon Gakuen
The Konko Church of San Francisco
Nihonmachi Little Friends
Nihonmachi Parking Corporation
Soko Hardware
Union Bank of California
Uoki Sakai Market

City and County of San Francisco:
Arts Commission
Arts Commission Civic Design Review Committee
Department of Parking & Traffic
Department of Public Works
Mayor’s Office on Disabilities
Planning Department
Office of the City Administrator
Office of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

Special Thanks
Madame Michiya Hanayagi
John Handa, John Handa Construction
Ruby Hata
Chris Hirano
Keiko Hitchcock, Hana Ichi Flowers
Chizu Iiyama
Taku Imagawa
Cathy Inamasu, Executive Director,
   Nihonmachi Little Friends
Robert Hamaguchi, Executive Director,
   Japantown Task Force, Inc.
Edwin M. Lee, City Admininstrator,
   City and County of San Francisco
Kaz Maniwa
Stephen MacNeil
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Floyd Mori, Japanese American Citizens League
Sandy Mori, Development Director, Kimochi, Inc.
Allen Okamoto, Nihonmachi Parking Corp.
Paul Osaki, Executive Director, Japanese Cultural
   & Community Center of Northern California
Robert Tanaka, Tanaka Design Group
John Tateishi
Rosalyn Tonai, Executive Director National Japanese      
   American Historical Society
Patty Wada

  Contributing Writers and Researchers:
James Hirabayashi, Ph. D.
Kenji Murase, Ph. D.
Chiori Santiago
Margaret Bacon Schultz
Shizue Siegel
Rosalyn Tonai, NJAHS

Photographs & Visual Elements:
Bancroft Library –
   Dorothea Lange Collection (signs 1, 4, 7, 10A, 13, 16)
   Clem Albers (signs 4, 13)
   Hikaru Iwasaki (sign 4)
   Charles E. Mace (signs 4)
Grace Abiko (signs 5, 11, 16)
Hatsuro Aizawa (signs 4, 8)
American Friends Service Committee (sign 14)
Matt Avery (sign 9)
Anthony Brown, PhD. (sign 16)
Buddhist Churches of America (sign 1, 9)
Committee Against Nihonmachi Evictions (CANE) (signs 1, 14)
Christ United Presbyterian Church (sign 9)
Grace Fujimoto (sign 16)
Nob Fukuda (sign 12)
Kiku Hori Funabiki (sign 4)
Tomi Gyotoku
Hagiwara Family Collection (sign 1, 5, 16)
Yutaka Handa
Kayo & Jeanette Hayakawa
James Hirabayashi
Sumi Honami (sign 4)
Shinobu Horikiri Family (signs 10B, 8, 12, 16)
Fred Hoshiyama (sign 4)
Tom Hoshiyama (sign 4)
Lloyd Hryciw Photography (signs 1, 11)
Chris Huie/ALC (sign 2)
Howard Imazeki Family (sign 4)
Motomu Ishii (sign 1, 8)
Willie Ito (sign 4)
Japanese American History Archives (signs 4, 5, 11, 14)
Japanese American National Library (signs 1, 2, 7, 14)
Japanese Community Youth Council Archives (signs 14, 16)
Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California Generations Book (sign 16)
Lorraine & Robin Johnson (sign 8 , 12)
Karen Kai (sign 16)
Kami Studio (sign 9)
Mrs. Saburo Kido (sign 7)
Kal Kitazumi
Boku Kodama (sign 14)
Kimochi, Inc. (sign 14, 16)
Kinmon Gakuen Archives (sign 1, 10B)
Stephen Kitagawa (sign 12)
Jack Matsuoka (sign 4)
Linda Tomoko Mihara (sign , 8)
Nob and Shiz Mihara (signs 10B, 16)
Janice Mirikitani (sign 16)
Robert Mizono Photography (sign 8, 14, 16)
Albert Mizuhara (sign 5)
Julia Morgan Collection, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University (sign 11)
Joy Morimoto
Morino Family (sign 4)
Emily Murase (sign 16)
John Nagano (signs 8, 12, 16)
Jimmy Naganuma (sign 12)
Tony Kaz Naganuma (signs 9, 12)
Kuniko Naito (signs 4, 8, 12)
Etsie Nakajo (sign 4)
Cindy & Kaz Nakamoto (sign 4)
National Archives and Record
Service (sign 1, 10A)
National Japanese American
Historical Society
– 100 Years of SF Japantown Exhibit (signs 1, 4, 5, 8, 12, 14, 16)
– The Enemy Alien Files Exhibit (sign 13)
NDD Creative (sign 9)
Nichi Bei Times (signs 4, 5, 13)
Nihonmachi Little Friends (sign 11, 14, 16)
Nihonmachi Street Fair, Inc. (signs 1, 8, 16)
Nisei Baseball Research Project (sign 12)
Wally Nunotani Family Collection (signs 13, 16)
Hiromi Oda & Kieran Ridge (sign 16)
Michi Oka Onuma Collection, JAHA (sign 11, 16)
Seizo Oka Family (sign 16)
Bobby & Ricky Okamura (sign 6)
Onodera Photo Studio (sign 8)
Phil Palmer, courtesy of Mike Palmer (sign 14)
Ben Pease, Pease Press (sign 5, 8)
Fumi Quon
Rick Rocamora/NJHAS (sign 2)
Sakai Family Collection (sign 3, 4)
Sakura Matsuri, Inc. (sign 1, 8)
San Francisco Associates (signs 9, 12)
San Francisco Chronicle (sign 2)
San Francisco Examiner (sign 13)
San Francisco History Center, S.F. Public Library (sign 5)
San Francisco History Museum (sign 1)
San Francisco Konko Church (sign 9)
San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (sign 1, 14, 16)
San Francisco Taiko Dojo (sign 1, 8, 16)
Doris Sasaki (sign 12)
Daisy Satoda
Hiko Shimamoto (sign 4)
Sue S. Shimosaka
Brad Shirakawa (sign 16)
Shizue Siegel
Lea Suzuki (sign 16)
Kenji Taguma, Nichi Bei Times (sign 4, 5, 9, 10B, 13)
Gerald Takano
Hon. Teketsugu “Tak” Takei (Ret.) (sign 12)
Takeshita Family (sign 4)
Isao Isago Tanaka (sign 1, 2, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16)
Ryuma Tanaka (sign 1, 8)
Togasaki Family (sign 16)
Emi Tom (sign 12)
Will Tsukamoto
University of Southern California Library, Dept. of Special Collections, Regional History Center (sign 13)
Nob & Shina Wada
Akira Watanabe (sign 4)
Leland Wong Photography (signs 8, 16)
JK Yamamoto, Hokubei Mainichi (sign 4)
Joyce Yamamoto (sign 4)
Jitsuo “Jits” Yamamura (sign 12)
Chibi Yasumoto (sign 12)
George Yoshida / Paul Higaki (sign 14)