San Jose’s Japantown keeps optimistic outlook going into new year

San Jose Japantown leaders have expressed restrained hope for 2022. The ethnic enclave continues to navigate the pandemic as a long-delayed mixed-use apartment complex project moves forward. “The business climate in Japantown remains slower than pre-pandemic, but our businesses continue to do well in spite of adversity,” Tamiko Rast, president of the Japantown Business Association, […]

Walking tour uses augmented reality to tell San Jose’s Japantown history

It was 4:30 p.m., on a Thursday in November. As the sky was dimming, the tour of Japantown San Jose began. A group of 10 began walking along N. Fifth Street where the San Jose Buddhist Church sits. They looked up at their smartphones in the air and gazed into the two-dimensional space projected on […]

The Bay Area’s Japantowns adjust to the new normal

With California’s June 15 economic reopening, businesses across the San Francisco Bay Area have gained a new sense of normalcy. The recovery process has varied according to individual businesses, even among the region’s two Japantowns. A Mixed Bag of Results in San Francisco’s Japantown When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced bars could reopen May 6 with […]

JA community responds to anti-Asian hate

Though the Japanese American community has so far been spared from the brunt of the rise of anti-Asian hate currently making headlines across the United States, many Nikkei are nevertheless concerned. “There are a lot of people who are very worried about it. They’re scared,” retired San Jose Police Department Lt. Rich Saito, told the […]

San Jose names J-Town Park

The San Jose City Council voted unanimously Sept. 1 to name a new park in San Jose’s Japantown Heinlenville Park, after John Heinlen, a German immigrant who opposed the anti-Asian racism Chinese immigrants suffered in the late 19th century. Heinlen went on to become a key contributor in establishing the ethnic enclave’s Chinatown. Nicolle Burnham, […]

In the midst of the global pandemic, waiting game continues for Bay Area J-Towns

Two historic ethnic enclaves in the Greater Bay Area are among the communities that began May having learned that they must endure another month of shelter-in-place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Since temporarily shuttering most businesses March 17, only a few essential businesses, mostly restaurants, continue to operate in San Francisco and San Jose’s Japantowns […]

Famed judo coach Yosh Uchida to celebrate 100th birthday

Yoshihiro Uchida, the legendary coach who helped make San Jose State University a collegiate powerhouse in judo for decades, will celebrate his 100th birthday on April 1. He had hoped to visit Japan later this year for the Tokyo Olympics, but those plans are uncertain because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Uchida was born in […]

Dr. Jerry Hiura, arts leader and dentist, dies

Dr. Jerrold Hiura, a San Jose Japantown dentist, leader in the arts community and co-founder of Contemporary Asian Theater Scene, passed away after battling late-stage esophageal cancer on Dec. 26, 2019. He was 72. Hiura was born in Chicago, and he moved with his family to the San Jose when he was seven. At the […]

Arts center on hold while commercial developments move forward

SAN JOSE — As San Jose’s Japantown finally sees construction begin at the site of the city’s former Corporation Yard and its historic Chinatown, community members expressed hope as the long-delayed project is now pouring concrete. Part of the development, however, has been put on hold, with costs becoming too high to move forward on […]

San Jose Tofu, a Japanese American institution, to close

SAN JOSE — After more than seven decades of handcrafting tofu from scratch, San Jose Japantown’s iconic San Jose Tofu will close its doors for good Dec. 30, leaving a community in mourning over the loss of one of Japanese America’s most unique businesses. “We’re tired, and while I’m still able to walk, we want […]

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