After the 1906 Earthquake many Japanese and Japanese Americans relocated to the area where you see SF Japantown today.
Originally SF Japantown was commonly referred to as “Nihonjin Machi” or Japanese People’s Town which spanned 30 blocks.
WWII broke out and 120,000 Japanese Americans were ordered to pack up and leave. They were sent to 10 relocation camps.
After the war, the neighborhood changed to reflect the more dispersed character of the postwar community, from Nihonjin Machi to Nihonmachi, or “Japantown.”
Urban renewal or “Redevelopment” resulted in the displacement of thousands of established residents. Scores of businesses closed, stately Victorians and other structures were moved or destroyed. 30 blocks of Nihonmachi was reduced to less than 10 blocks.
The 1960’s brought the Japan Cultural and Trade Center which is now called Japan Center mall. This 5 acre property houses specialty shops and restaurants.
SF Japantown is one of only three Japantowns remaining in the U.S. today.