Preserving San Francisco's Japantown

Recent development in one of the U.S.'s three Japantowns could threaten remnants of the neighborhood's historic past.
March 5, 2006, 1pm PST | David Gest
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"As San Francisco's Japantown celebrates its 100-year anniversary, the threat of cultural displacement looms. Two hotels, a movie theater, and two malls are up for sale, and no one seems to know what will happen to the spaces.

This is one of only three Japantowns left in the country (the others are in San Jose and Los Angeles), so many are talking about the importance of cultural preservation. But what exactly do they mean?

The reality is that Japantown today is more of a shopping and eating hub than a neighborhood of Japanese residents. In 1920, 5,000 Japanese resided in the city, most of them in the area now called Japantown; today only 1,000 of the neighborhood's 11,600 residents are Japanese, according to census data."

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Published on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 in The San Francisco Bay Guardian
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