California Japantowns - Exploring the preservation of history, culture, and community...

About the California Japantowns Historic Survey

Preserving California Japantowns

Preserving California’s Japantowns historic resource database reflects reconnaissance-level surveys conducted in nearly fifty communities during 2006 and 2007. Community directories published just before WWII by the Los Angeles-based Rafu Shimpo and San Francisco-based Japanese American News (now Nichi Bei Times) guided our surveys. Their detailed listings enabled us to search for places that ranged from culturally specific businesses such as bathhouses and tofu factories to churches and temples, community halls and places like the ball fields where Nikkei teams played.

The database is organized to be searched by region, community and historic use of a property. For example, you could search for all Buddhist churches in the survey, all extant properties in Berkeley, or all nurseries around Los Angeles. When the directories used varied terms (such as café and restaurant) we tried to standardize them to aid in searching the data. The data reflects both extant resources and those that no longer remain.