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

Orange County

The orange groves that called so many to Southern California in the late 19th century also drew Japanese immigrants to Orange County. Issei farm workers soon moved into the area’s growing celery fields, and began to lease land and cultivate new crops including tomatoes, beans, strawberries and chili peppers. By 1942, Japanese immigrants and their children had helped to make Orange County’s 795 square miles one of the nation’s richest agricultural areas. A handful of Japanese immigrants ran businesses in urban centers, but most of the county’s nearly 2,000 Nikkei residents were spread across a predominantly rural landscape, with small clusters around community institutions such as language schools and churches. Preserving California’s Japantowns' historic resource survey took this dispersed pattern of Nikkei life into account as we searched out the scattered remnants of Nikkei history in today’s highly developed Orange County.


Wintersburg Church - 7622 Warner Avenue - Huntington Beach

Torao Yoshimura's chili pepper farm - Garden Grove ca. 1920

Japanese Association Office - 206 W. 4th Street, Santa Ana

Orange County Agricultural & Nikkei History Museum, California State University - Fullerton

Furuta Residence, 7642 Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach

Tamura Law Offices - 202 E. 4th Street, Santa Ana

Masunaga & Takayama Market - Stanton

Oda Barber Shop & Furo, Heritage Park - Fountain Valley


Berkeley | Florin | Fresno | Guadalupe
Lodi | Long Beach | Marysville | Monterey
Oakland | Orange County | Oxnard
Pasadena | Petaluma | Placer County
Riverside | Santa Barbara | San Diego
Sawtelle | Terminal Island | Vacaville
Walnut Grove | Watsonville