History of the Japanese in San Francisco

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The history of the Japanese in San Francisco begins in 1869 when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in San Francisco Bay.[1] In 1900 there were 90 Japanese businesses. By 1909 this figure increased to 545.[1] San Jose's Japantown was founded due to the need of combining comradeship and resources to survive as immigrants in the United States. Initially, it was known as Heinlenville Chinatown between Jackson and Taylor east of Sixth Street. However, John Heinlen offered his own property for the new location after the city's second Chinatown burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances. Despite outrage from the general public, Mr Heinlen built a new Chinatown entirely of brick. He then rented these buildings to the Chinese at very low rates. [2]


The Fukuin Kai opened in 1877. The book San Francisco's Japantown stated that this was believed to be the first Japanese organization in the United States.[1]


The San Francisco Japanese School (SFJS) is a Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT)-designated weekend Japanese school serving the area. The school system, headquartered in San Francisco, rents classrooms in four schools serving a total of 1,400 students as of 2014; two of the schools are in San Francisco and two are in the South Bay. For elementary students it operates out of the A.P. Giannini Middle School in San Francisco and the The Harker School Blackford Campus in San Jose. For junior high school and high school students it operates out of the Herbert Hoover Middle School in San Francisco and the J.F. Kennedy Middle School in Cupertino.[3]

MEXT also defines the Grossman Academy Japanese Language School as an official weekend school.[4] The academy has its offices in Fremont and its classes are held in Palo Alto.[5]

Saniku Gakuin in Japan has an affiliated weekend Japanese school, the Saniku Gakuin Japanese School in Santa Clara, California (三育学院サンタクララ校 San'iku Gakuin Santakurara Kō). It holds its classes at Latimer Elementary School in San Jose.[6]

Kinmon Gakuen (金門学園) is a Japanese language school in San Francisco, established in 1911.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c San Francisco's Japantown, p. 7.
  2. ^ http://www.japantownsanjose.org/history.html
  3. ^ "About San Francisco Japanese School." San Francisco Japanese School. Retrieved on February 23, 2014.
  4. ^ "北米の補習授業校一覧(平成25年4月15日現在)." (Archive) MEXT. Retrieved on May 5, 2014.
  5. ^ "Welcome." Grossman Academy. Retrieved on April 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "三育学院への来校方法." Saniku Gakuin Japanese School in Santa Clara, California. Retrieved on April 1, 2015. ""

Further reading[edit]

  • Kiefer, Christie W. Changing Cultures, Changing Lives: An Ethnographic Study of Three Generations of Japanese Americans. California: Jossey Bass Publishers, 1974. See profile at Google Books.