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 […]

Numerous leadership changes at Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo nonprofits

LOS ANGELES — After a long period of stability, various nonprofit organizations in Little Tokyo have experienced significant leadership changes the past few years. Dean Matsubayashi took over at the Little Tokyo Service Center, Leslie Ito at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and Mitchell Maki at the Go For Broke National Educational Center. […]

San Jose Obon delivers comforting familiarity to community

This year’s Obon festival in San Jose’s Japantown, which took place July 9 and July 10, was the same as it is every year: parking was nearly impossible to find, a line extended all the way from Jackson Street around the corner to North Fifth Street for the shave ice sold at Shuei-do Manju Shop, […]

INVITING PEOPLE INTO THE FOLD: Sisters advance the art of origami

Raised around the art of origami, Linda Mihara and Vicky Mihara Avery have unfolded the public’s fascination with making art from a single sheet of paper. Recognized as paperfolders, the Mihara sisters have helped establish the art of origami both nationally and internationally. Most recently, Linda Mihara co-curated “Origami Living World” at the National History […]

LETTERS: Webster Street Bridge ‘part and parcel of the Japantown historic and cultural fabric’

Here are two additional substantial reasons why the Webster Street Bridge should not be taken down. The first is that it is a cultural icon. Admittedly not overly beautiful, it is still Japanese in style, and it is part and parcel of the Japantown historic and cultural fabric.  It is better known among locals as […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: (Nihon Machi Hyaku Jyu Nen) 110th year of San Francisco’s Japantown

日 (ni, hi, nichi) means sun or day. This character is from the shape of the sun. 本 (hon, moto) means origin or book. This character is from the shape of a tree and its roots. Together, this character is Nihon or Japan. 町 (machi) means town. This character indicates two parts. The left side […]

The state of San Francisco Japantown’s businesses

At the dawn of its 110th year, San Francisco’s Japantown currently faces challenges in maintaining its identity as a regional hub of Japanese and Japanese American culture. About five decades since the Japan Center was built, many of the neighborhood’s longtime business owners have come of retirement age. As these businesses close, the neighborhood faces […]

Little Tokyo mom-and-pop businesses continue through rough times

LOS ANGELES — A handful of mom-and-pop retail stores in Little Tokyo have survived economic downturns to become almost permanent fixtures, hanging on for anywhere from 68 years to more than a century. In fact, Fugetsu-Do Confectioners has been around since 1903, Mikawaya started in 1910, and Rafu Bussan, S.K. Uyeda Department Store, Bunkado and […]

Japantown Corporation Yard project moves forward, other projects planned

SAN JOSE — A proposed 600-unit apartment development planned for the city Corporation Yard in San Jose’s Japantown is moving forward. The development is planned for a 5.8-acre property bordered by Sixth and Seventh and Taylor and Jackson streets. Kathy Sakamoto, executive director of the Japantown Business Association, said that developer Williams & Dame recently […]

S.F. J-Town sustainability strategy presented to commissions

San Francisco Japantown members and stakeholders gave informational presentations on the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy in July to the San Francisco Planning Department. The two presentations were given to the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission on July 17 and 18. The meetings were designed to present a final draft of […]

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