Japantown in the heart of downtown San Jose has been a vital part of Santa Clara Valley’s history since the 1890s.
The first wave of Japanese immigrants (Issie), were attracted to the area for job opportunities in the burgeoning agriculture industry.
The insular Japantown neighborhood provided the Japanese with a safe-harbor place to shop and socialize.
Within two months of the onset of WWII, Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 forced all Japanese to pack their bags and relocate to internment camps far from the Pacific Coast. Japantown resident, Jimi Yamaichi was 19 years old when he and his family were ordered to report to the San Jose State University Gymnasium.