Mark Izu’s ‘Songs for J-Town’ evokes memories and hopes

Mark Izu assembled performers from across the United States and spent years putting together “Songs for J-Town,” but he only expected around 60 people to attend the April 23 world premiere at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco when he scheduled the show during the height of the omicron surge. Instead, more than 400 people […]

Mark Izu’s reflective journey through music with ‘Songs For J-Town’ April 23

Nichi Bei Weekly Report Award-winning jazz musician Mark Izu will present his latest concert “Songs for J-Town,” featuring a personal reflection of his nearly five-decade musical journey, April 23 at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco. He recently sat down with the Nichi Bei Weekly to discuss the project, and what it means to him. […]

Queen Stephanie Misa Doi and court embark on year-long JA journey

The AMC Kabuki 8 in San Francisco’s Japantown was packed for the 2022 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program April 9, signaling a return to form for the annual program for young professional Japanese American women. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a major break in tradition as the in-person festival was canceled in 2020. The […]

Benkyodo: The bittersweet end of an era at S.F. Japantown’s oldest business

Ricky Okamura clocks in to work at 3 a.m., typically hours before the first customer walks in to his store, but on March 26, his first customer beat him there by three hours, pitching a tent and lining up for manju outside Benkyodo Company in San Francisco’s Japantown.  Lines have wrapped around the block, starting […]

NorCal Cherry Blossom Queen Program introduces 2022 candidates

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Program presented its 2022 queen candidates during its inaugural virtual preview press conference March 9 over Zoom. The program, a highlight of the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, will take place April 9 at the AMC Kabuki 8. The candidates are: Katy Akiko Drennan, Stephanie Misa Doi, Michelle […]

S.F. Supe proposes naming Japantown pedestrian mall after late artist Ruth Asawa

San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston this week proposed naming Japantown’s Buchanan Mall after the famed and late artist Ruth Asawa. Asawa, who was of Japanese descent, is known for her bold metal and wire sculptures — located in public spaces throughout the city and various other cities like Oakland, San Jose, and St. Helena. Some […]

S.F. Japantown hotel conversion proposal called off, but work continues

Many Japantown community members breathed a sigh of relief while housing advocates lamented KHP Capital Partners’ decision to rescind its interest in selling the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in San Francisco’s Japantown to the city. If sold to the city, the hotel, currently serving as a temporary shelter-in-place hotel for homeless people, would have been converted […]

Statement from former CANE members on the sale of the Buchanan Hotel in S.F. Japantown

The Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction (CANE) 50th Anniversary Committee formed ten months ago to commemorate CANE’s fight to preserve San Francisco’s Japantown and to share this history with future generations. Coincidentally our committee’s work is taking place during intense community discussions about the future of the Buchanan Hotel site and Japantown as a whole. Even […]

City slows down process to pursue S.F. Japantown hotel for permanent housing

As pressure from San Francisco Japantown community members mounts, the city has emphasized its intent to slow down the proposal to purchase the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel at 1800 Sutter St. introduced mid-August, while the city supervisor whose district includes the ethnic enclave proposed two other hotels to purchase. San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive […]

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 […]

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