2031 Bush Street
Kinmon Gakuen is one of the oldest structures and cultural organizations in San Francisco’s Japantown. The school currently operates a weekly Japanese language education program, and houses Nihonmachi Little Friends, a bilingual day care center. The building has undergone several renovations since its inception. It has six mid-sized rooms, and includes a kitchen, a social hall, a library, and an auditorium.
On March 20, 1925 architect William C. Hays’ building design was approved and the building was completed on April 11, 1926. Many Japanese Americans in San Francisco were ordered to report to Kinmon Gakuen to register for the evacuation on April 24, 1942, and the site served as the gathering place for one of the main contingents of evacuees to the Tanforan Assembly Center. During World War II, the school was shut down and re-opened in 1949. For several decades Kinmon Gakuen served not only as a school, but as a cultural educational center and as a movie house on Saturdays showing Japanese films, plays and other community events. At its height, over 400 students attended the school. Kinmon Gakuen also holds the distinction of having been visited by many members of the Imperial Family of Japan. Kinmon Gakuen is now only open on Saturdays, but remains as a center for community programs and events and is a historical landmark for the Japanese American community.