Fresno's Nihonmachi with its large concentration of Japanese businesses and associations became the center of social, economic, religious, and political activity for Japanese in the Central Valley by the early 1900's. After the first Japanese to the valley arrived in the 1890's to farm at a Muscat grape vineyard, ranchers began recruiting Japanese workers from Sacramento and Stockton; and by 1897, nearly 3,000 Japanese grape pickers were working on ranches in the valley. Because of the region's scale and distance between the large ranches, Japanese businesses were set up in small towns for the growing number of migrant laborers. Fresno's Nihonmachi was established adjacent to Chinatown, on Kern and G Streets, and along Chinatown Alley. Japanese would frequent Fresno's Nihonmachi from the surrounding towns of Selma, Fowler, Reedley, Clovis, Parlier, Sanger, Kingsburg, and Madera, and from Kings and Tulare counties. By 1910, the Japanese population in Fresno County grew to 2,233, with 122 businesses and 9 organizations; and doubled in size by 1920 to 5,732 residents with 187 businesses. ››Go here to view the map of Fresno's Japantown in 1940.
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