Thursday, February 23, 2006

San Francisco's Japantown in Danger?

I just received (or, just read) mail saying that a big chunk of Japantown is for sale. Japantown has been through many ups and downs in its 100-year history, but it is currently only a small area, with only a few shops and businesses outside of the mall itself. It would be a real shame for Japantown to go away, but this is a long discussion involving the personal choices of many Nissei (Japanese-related Americans), history as far back as the forced relocations during WWII, the economic arc of various San Francisco neighborhoods, the one-time ghetto-ization of many American minorities, the current trend toward assimilation in much of the Japanese-American community, the current small number of Japanese immigrants (and short-term expats sent by the home office)...

There appear to be only three Japantowns left in the U.S.: San Francisco, San Jose, and L.A.'s Little Tokyo, plus undoubtedly a few other less-formal neighborhoods, such as what we called "Pico-Tokyo" along Sawtelle near Pico in west L.A.

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