‘Every town our home town’: History and heritage reside in California’s Japan Towns

‘History and heritage reside in California’s Japan Towns’, a pictorial by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai from PassionParade ~ nostalgically envisages – the images of very many different homes away from to be in the next several decades, of their own heritage, history of migration-immigration, communities and so forth around the globe; and how will they be told, seen?

There will be plenty to be said, but the browsing today of Japan Towns fittingly goes well with KaNiyan Puungunran’s poem – puRam 192, in the heart which was written crica 100 BCE, and has withstood the currents of time:


KaNiyan Puungunran’s poem – puRam 192

PuRa^nAnURu 192

Every town our home town,
Every man a kinsman.

Good and evil do not come
from others.
Pain and relief of pain
come of themselves.
Dying is nothing new.
We do not rejoice
that life is sweet
nor in anger
call it bitter.

Our lives, however dear,
follow their own course,
rafts drifting
in the rapids of a great river
sounding and dashing over the rocks
after a downpour
from skies slashed by lightnings-

we know this
from the vision
of men who see.
So,
we are not amazed by the great,
and we do not scorn the little. (translated by A. K. Ramanujan)

And now the Pictorial of Japan Towns on the Pacific coast of North America:

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

I will write PEACE on your wings and you will fly all over the world”~ Sadako Sasaki (A young Japanese girl on the threshold of adolescence developed leukemia in 1955 from the effects of radiation caused by the bombing of Hiroshima), (1943-1955)

Beautiful bunches of Bougainvillea in Japan Town. Bougainvillea is also known as “Paper Flowers” because the bracts are thin and papery

Japan Town is also known as “Nihonmachi”. It is also called “J Town” in short.Japan Town was originally formed around the existing “Heinlenville” ~ China Town settlement. During the Second World War, the Japanese American population was forcibly removed from Japan Town and interned in camps. After the war, many Japanese Americans resettled in the area. Many Japanese left the area due to the expansion of Silicon Valley. But the town still remains home for thousands of Japanese Americans.

California State Legislation designated this area as one of the last three remaining historical Japan Towns in the United States of America. They are in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. The Japanese community in these three areas (San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles) survived the urban renewal in 1950s and 1960s. It is believed that more than 40 Japan Towns existed in the United States of America before the World War II.

Japan Town has many authentic and ethnic Japanese restaurants.Churches, Buddhist temples, community halls, restaurants and landscape contribute a lot to the history and identity of Japan.Walking down on Japan Town gives a real experience of Japan. It is a rare feeling of a neighbourhood, where history and heritage reside in the keepers of the shops and the people walking along the streets. San Jose Japan Town is a rare treasure.

It is reported that 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to leave and put into internment camps during the World War II (1942~1946)

A walk in Japan Town engages, educates and enriches the visitors

The term “Japan Town” encompasses a wide range of communities from large Nihonmachi in metropolitan areas

The stories and memories of people who lived and experienced California

Japan Towns were created because of the widespread of immigration of Japanese to America in the Meiji Period (1868~1912)

History Walk in San Jose

Preserving California’s Japan Towns helps to assist American community to recognise their local heritage

Japan Town is a place of discovery

The place showcases the history and contemporary features of a vibrant community

Stone monument in Japan Town

Plaque on the pathway

Gorgeous view of Japan Town

Buildings highlight the points of historical and cultural significance of
Japanese American community