Japantown Task Force executive director passes

Japantown Task Force, Inc. Executive Director Robert Hamaguchi passed away peacefully in the early hours of Sept. 4 at his home surrounded by family members, after a more than year-long battle with cancer. He was 70. The Japantown Task Force hired Hamaguchi in 2006 as its executive director. He helped formulate and implement the Japantown […]

Man who robbed elderly victims sentenced to 327-years-to life in prison

A 60-year-old man has been sentenced to 327-years-to-life in prison for a series of violent residential burglaries that targeted the elderly in San Francisco’s Chinatown and Japantown neighborhoods in 2014, prosecutors said Sept. 6. German Woods Jr., of San Francisco, was found guilty on all 16 counts of residential burglary, inflicting injury on an elder […]

S.F.’s J-Town to vote for benefits district by July 25

As San Francisco’s Japantown Community Benefit District goes to a ballot, the Japantown Task Force held an informational meeting June 27 to help answer property owners’ questions about the proposed assessment on their properties. The official city ballot initiative will be among the final deciding factors on whether the commercial benefit district will be formed […]

Soto Zen reverend’s off-the-beaten path to S.F.

The two largest Buddhists sects in Japan are Jodo Shinshu and Soto Shu. Jodo Shinshu boasts the most number of practitioners in Japan,  while Soto Shu claims the title of most number of temples, said the Rev. Koshi Kurotaki, resident minister of the Soto Mission of San Francisco Sokoji. And while Zen Buddhism has become […]

School’s in session in S.F.’s Japantown

Following some five years of planning, fundraising and construction, Nihonmachi Little Friends opened its doors to its new Sutter Street building May 19 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by several dozen of those involved with the preschool. Founded in 1975 to provide community-based Japanese bilingual and multicultural childcare, the preschool located in San Francisco’s Japantown […]

Massive outage in S.F. caused by fire at PG&E substation

A massive power outage in San Francisco was caused by a fire at a PG&E substation, a PG&E official said at a press conference April 21. “I’d like to extend our apologies to our customers,” said Barry Anderson, vice president of electric distribution for PG&E. “The outage was caused by a catastrophic failure in one […]

FROM SUMO TO MUSIC: Former Ozeki KONISHIKI to be Grand Marshal of parade

Hail the conquering hero … once again. When KONISHIKI last came to the Bay Area in 1996, the much celebrated sumo wrestler in Japan was taking a victory lap of sorts at a tournament in San Jose while he wound down a history-making career. Sunday, April 16 in San Francisco, the Hawai‘i-born KONISHIKI will return […]

Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating 50 years and embracing the future

San Francisco’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary with organizers hoping to present a celebration of Japanese culture that is bigger than ever. This year, the two weekend-long event will host a 50th anniversary gala, more than 200 guests from Japan and expanded entertainment, including a scavenger hunt. Richard Hashimoto, who previously […]

PLAYING FOR COMMUNITY: San Jose Taiko founders P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi

Known both locally and internationally, P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi were among the latest inductees to the Hokka Nichibei Kai (Japanese American Association of Northern California) Bunka Hall of Fame during its annual New Year’s party Jan. 28, alongside fellow San Jose’s Japantown cultural arts icon Reiko Iwanaga (Reimichi Hanayagi). The Hirabayashis, founders of San Jose […]

1-alarm fire at Japantown apartment building quickly contained

Firefighters quickly extinguished a one-alarm fire at an apartment complex the morning of Feb. 14 in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood, according to fire officials. Firefighters first responded to the blaze at 8:55 a.m. at 1600 Webster St., fire officials said on Twitter. The fire was under control by 9:02 a.m., according to fire officials. The […]

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