Public statement by the Japantown community regarding the proposed purchase of the Hotel Buchanan by the City and County of San Francisco


This statement is a demand that the Hotel Buchanan be removed from further consideration of City acquisition.

Many have tried to paint this as a Japantown vs. the unhoused issue, or just another not-in-my-backyard reaction. It is an age-old tactic to pit vulnerable communities against one another. We will not be used. San Franciscans pride themselves as being more politically informed and enlightened. We ask that you look deeper at the issues. This opposition is from a community and a people that have suffered the loss of liberty, including the loss of homes, churches, and businesses multiple times over many generations at the hands of the government. Further, this community has also experienced decades of anti-Asian racism. This is a historic cultural district that has sacrificed more than anyplace in the City for the so-called public good vs. a rushed process that has ignored racial equity.

Several of the historical and racial inequities faced by Japantown have finally been documented as Findings in the Ordinance that created the Office of Racial Equity in 2019. Amongst them is the Finding that the San Francisco Police Department helped the FBI sweep Japanese American homes in 1942, and then assisted with the incarceration of Japanese Americans into concentration camps during World War II. It has also been documented that the SF Redevelopment Agency used red-lining and unjustifiable urban renewal plans to physically remove communities of color from the Fillmore and Western Addition. The Japanese American residential population in Japantown has declined by over 80% as a direct result, and the Western Addition communities has never recovered from the devastation.

Now a reduced community, relegated to rely on visitor dollars for economic survival is told that a hotel that brings in revenue and hotel tax dollars that are reinvested in our community must be taken away. We do not put tourists above the unhoused. But we have built this community from nothing against all odds, and that hotel is part of the lifeblood of Japantown, supports our small businesses and restaurants, and employs many local workers.

From the onset, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) has not exhibited any cultural sensitivity or historical knowledge of the suffering and sacrifices that Japantown has endured. We do not see a commitment to social and racial equity.

This action is reminiscent of the mentality that government entities know what is best for our community and use their power to impose it.

HSH uses the tag line, Compassion, Courage, & Common Sense. Take those words seriously and have compassion for generations that have suffered in Japantown, use courage to be guided by racial equity, and exercise common sense to work with the community in supporting alternative sites.

We demand that the Hotel Buchanan be removed from further consideration.

(As 9/15/21)
Keith and Sawako Akama – Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF)
Judy and Nosuke Akiyama – Japantown residents
Gorge Alonzo – Yuji Dojo
Kateryna Androshchuk – Yuji Dojo
Sabina Antonova – NLF
Eiko Aoki – SF native, incarcerated at Topaz concentration camp
Rev. Gary Barbaree – Japanese American Religious Federation (JARF)
Paolo and Thaomy Beltran – NLF
Masae Matsumoto Beresford – Festa Wine and Cocktail Lounge business owner
Sebastian Bourret – Yuji Dojo
Shina and Patrick Bray – NLF
Jim Brownell – Business property owner
Weida Chan – SaSa Japanese Restaurant business owner
Chris Chin – Matcha Café Maiko business owner
Rodney Chin – Buchanan YMCA
Anthony and Flora Chung – NLF
Todd Eshima and Shellin Young – NLF
Anthony and Marian Figlietti – NLF
Marjorie Imaizumi Fletcher – incarcerated at Santa Anita Detention Center – WWII
Kei Fujimura – Community member
Sachiko Gee – ChaTo business owner
Kirk Grogan – NLF
Judy Hamaguchi – SF Chapter, Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
Richard Hashimoto – Japantown Merchants Association (JMA)
Grace Horikiri – Nihonmachi Street Fair
Satoru and Carolyn Hosoda – Business property owners
Robert W. Hsu – Tokaido Arts business owner
Shuji and Melissa Igushi – NLF
Koji and Stephanie Ikeda – NLF
Mickey Imura – Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction – 1973-79 (CANE)
Cathy Inamasu – NLF
Michel and Mary Innes – NLF
David Inoue – Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
David Ishida – Community member
Steve Ishii – Kimochi, Inc.
Mary Erikson-Ishisaki – Business property owner
Ann and Michael Iurato – NLF
Stephen Jordan and Mariko Sawada – Sakura Sakura business owner
Makiko Kambayashi – Community member
Alice Kawahatsu – Japantown resident
Kumi Kawashiri – Soto Mission of San Francisco
Mitsuko Kawashiri – SF native incarcerated at Topaz concentration camp
Jeong and Yun Sun Keum – NLF
Gary Kitahata – Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Gayle Kojimoto – Community member
Donna Kotake – CANE – 1973-79
Kyle Kurahara – NLF
Rev. Koshi Kurotaki – Soto Mission of San Francisco
Alisa, Samantha and Mariye Kume – NLF
Yoshiko and Toshikazu Kume – NLF
Kana Kusumoto – NLF
Osaji Kusumoto – Community member
Sumiko Kusumoto – Tan Tan Café business owner
Zak and Rieko Lance – NLF
Cecily Ina-Lee – Rosa Parks School
Curtis Lowe – NLF
Max Malloy – NLF
Lori Matoba and Jeff Wun – Japantown residents
Diane Matsuda – Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO)
Steve and Audrey Matsumoto – NLF
Jeffery Matsuoka – Buddhist Church of SF
Karl Matsushita – Japanese American National Library (JANL)
Joelle Matsuura – NLF
Ryan Matsuura – NLF
Thuy McGrane – NLF
Sherry Ming and Amy Tang – NLF
Bryant Miura – Japantown resident
Wendell and Naomi Miura – Japantown residents
Yasuaki Miura – Super Mira business owner
Lisa Mizuiri – NLF
Dawn Mokuau – NLF
Jamie and Kelly Monroy – NLF
James D. Moore – NLF
Keiko Moore – NLF
Megumi Moore – NLF
Takeshi Moro – Lisa Mizuiri – NLF
Makiko Murakoshi – NLF
Tiffany Muraoka – NLF
Emily Murase – SF Chapter, JACL
Kaz Naganuma – Community member
Arly Nagase – Japantown resident
Glynis Nakahara – Japantown Task Force
Steve Nakajo – Japantown Task Force
Remi Nakamoto – Rosa Parks School
Joyce Nakamura – CANE – 1973-79
Jade V. Nelson – NLF
Maiko Nestler – Glam Up business owner
Shuichi Niihara and Yumi Tsukumi – Belly Good Café business owner
Joyce Oishi – NLF
Rumi and Mitsufumi Okabe – Business property owner
Allen Okamoto – Business property owner
Bobby Okamura and Ricky Okamura – Benkyo-Do business owner
Michael Omine – NLF
Mieko Omine – NLF
Akiko Ono and Adam Greenspan – NLF
Michinori Ono – Nepenji Japan Center Beauty Clinic business owner
Teresa Ono – Buddhist Church of SF
Jon Osaki – Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC)
Paul Osaki – Japantown resident
Akiyoshi and Kayo Oshima – NLF
Noriyuki, Hideaki and Chinami Oshima – NLF
Jennie Ottinger – NLF
Gordon Park-Li – Sei Ko Kai
Erik and Jill Pascual – NLF
Augie Phillips – NLF
Jane Pitiyanuvath – NLF
Brandon Quan – Japantown Community Benefit District (JCBD)
Kristine Qiu – NLF
James and Irene Robinson – NLF
Jessica and Nathan Romero – NLF
Robert Sakai – Business property owner
Asakichi Sakakihara – Asakichi business owner
Susan Sakuma – Buddhist Church of SF
Korby Satow – NLF
Eric Schoenman – NLF
Sam and Hiroko Schreiber – NLF
Sahra Sellers – NLF
Jon Lin and Xinshu She – NLF
Michiko Shibata – Japantown resident
Kaori Shida and Patrick Halloran – NLF
Mika Shimizu and TH Kong – NLF
Brian Shimomura – SF Chapter, JACL
Vlad Smirnov – Yuji Dojo
Patrick Szeto – Webster Tower business owner
Kenta Takamori – Community member
David Takashima – SF Chapter, JACL
Kiyomi Takeda – Community member
Kyoko Tamaki – Japantown resident
Hubert Tang and Theresa Chang – NLF
Jenny Tang and Jonathan Tse – NLF
Amenjal and Anar Tlyekhan – NLF
Michiko Toki and David Darling – Japantown residents
Rev. Joanne Tolosa – Konko Church of SF
Ros Tonai – National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS)
Dean Ito Taylor – Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO)
Cynthia Tsuchimoto – NLF
Yuji Uchida – NLF
Tara Umemoto – Berkeley Chapter, JACL
Patty Wada – No. CA Region, JACL
Richard Wada – Community member
Matthew Webb – NLF
Jared and Keiko Wilson – NLF
Kanako Wong – NLF
Mie and Dav Yaginuma – NLF
Yasunari George Yamada – Business property owner
Melody Yamaguchi – NLF
Mikihiro and Aiko Yasuda – NLF
Emi Yokomizo and Kevin Toda – Community members
Maya Yoshikawa – NLF
Father Paul Zirimenya – Japanese Catholic Society at St. Benedict Parish for the Deaf – at St. Francis Xavier Church

(*organizations listed for identification purposes only)


The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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