Berkeley's Japanese American community numbered over 1,300 at the start of WWII, with over 70 Nikkei-owned businesses scattered throughout the city. Japanese American residences were mostly restricted to Berkeley’s Southwest neighborhoods, where a mix of African Americans and recent European immigrants lived alongside other working-class families. In addition to many small businesses and cultural organizations, Berkeley’s Nihonmachi featured a variety of places associated with the University of California, including several student dormitories and rooming houses, and a Japanese Students Club that was active by 1910.
The three East Bay communities in the Preserving California's Japantowns survey— Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda — have a remarkably high number of extant historic structures. More than half of the 100+ listings in Berkeley we surveyed are still in place, although many have been altered.
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