California Japantowns - Exploring the preservation of history, culture, and community...

Get Involved

We welcome your participation in Preserving California’s Japantowns and invite you to share your knowledge and memories of California’s many historic Japantowns. We encourage communities to support efforts to broaden public awareness and understanding of local preservation issues significant to historic Japanese American communities.

For more information, please contact Jill Shiraki, Project Manager, at 510.277.2164.

Community Outreach
California Japanese American Community Leadership Council has mobilized community organizations and leaders across the state to help gather information from community members. Community groups, local historians, and preservationists offered support by helping find individuals whose memories helped map these historic Japantowns; by sharing records and archives of organizations, such as business associations, churches and temples that helped reconstruct the breadth of community life; by enlisting community members to join the effort by conducting resource surveys in their own towns.

Nisei Stories

We are currently conducting place-based interviews of Nisei to understand the stories behind the vast historic resources that we identified in our community survey work. We look forward to sharing these personal stories, adding texture and dimension to the historic Japantowns via the website. We feel the urgency to record these stories while we can and are collaborating with local oral history projects and volunteers to ensure these stories are captured. For more information on how you can participate, email Jill Shiraki.

Beyond the 43 Communities
Inspiring local awareness and stewardship doesn’t stop at the project’s 43 communities. We've received inquiries about Japantowns beyond the communities selected for study. We are eager to support people who are interested in documenting other communities using PCJ research tools. We would be happy to share our project's methods and tools, including detailed listings from pre-WWII community directories. To preview PCJ Windshield Guidelines, click here.