Japantown Atlas - Links and Info

The Japantown Atlas is a work in progress, and is but a small part in telling the stories of Japanese Americans and their communites at a dark time in our nation's history.

Following is a modest list of links to other resources we hope you will find useful - reading lists, sister projects, archives, media, etc.

To Learn More:

National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) www.njahs.org

Japanese American National Museum (JANM) www.jamn.org

Densho (Seattle) www.densho.org

dayofremembrance.org (some good history links plus upcoming ceremonies each February) http://www.dayofremembrance.org/

Manzanar National Historic Site (Independence, CA) http://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm

Many Mountains.org (Santa Fe, NM internees, their art and stories) http://www.manymountains.org/

Preserving California's Japantowns (www.californiajapantowns.org) is a sister CCLPEP project documenting 43 California's Japantowns, chasing pre-war buildings and sites, and collecting oral histories and photos.

Japanese American Historical Mapping Project http://www.jahmp.org/ Follow the travels and tribulations of several Japanese American families in the Palos Verdes area of Los Angeles.


Community Newspapers:

Nichi Bei Times: http://www.nichibeitimes.com. Weekly English edition and tri-weekly Japanese edition published in San Francisco.

Hokkubei Mainichi. Daily, bilingual daily newspaper based in San Francisco. http://www.hokubeionline.com/home.html.

Nikkei West, another English-language paper published out of Sacramento and San Jose. http://www.nikkeiwest.com/

Rafu Shimpo, published in Los Angeles.http://www.rafu.com/

Pacific Citizen, voice of the Japanese American Citizens League www.pacificcitizen.org/



San Francisco's Japantown, created by the Japantown Task Force, published by Arcadia Books, which is a great overview of San Francisco's Japantown's past 100+ years through historic photos and better-than-usual captions. Maps by you know who. www.jtowntaskforce.org.

Lawson Fusao Inada, editor: Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience © 2001 Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA. An engaging anthology of personal accounts from many perspectives.

Robert B. Stinnett; Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor. ©1999, The Free Press. ISBN 0-684-85339-6. Stinnett makes a strong case that FDR maneuvered Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor, to draw Congress into joining the war in Europe.

Greg Robinson; By the Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans ©2001 Harvard Univ. Press. ISBN 0-674-00639-9. Delves into the complex attitudes, assumptions, and politics of FDR's decision to authorize the internment.

Lawrence DiStasi, editor: Una Storia Segreata: the Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during WW II. © 2001 Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA.

Kimi Kodani Hill: Topaz Moon: Chiura Obata’s Art of the Internment ©2000, Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 1-890771-26-0.

Other people in places where Japanese Americans settled

Sandy Lydon; Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region. ©1985, Capitola Book Co. ISBN 0-932319-00-9 and ...-01-7 (paper). An excellent history of Chinese settlements in Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, and Watsonville (including some very fine maps).

Sylvia Sun Minnick; Sam Fow: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy ©1988, Panorama West Publishing, Fresno, CA ISBN 0-044194-09-5 and ...-10-9 (paper). Dating from the Gold Rush, Stockton's Chinatown was the nucleus of Japantown and Little Manila. Minnick also authored the recent Arcadia photo history of Stockton's Chinese American Community.

Dawn Mabalon, Ph. D., and Rico Reyes; Filipino American National Historical Society and the Little Manila Foundation: Filipinos in Stockton, Arcadia Publishing, 2008. ISBN 0-7385-5624-6.

Connie Young Fu; Chinatown, San Jose, USA ©1993, San Jose Historical Museum Association, San Jose, CA. ISBN 0-914139-09-6. After San Jose's first two Chinatowns were destroyed by arson, sympathetic landowner John Heinlein developed a new, gated Chinatown at 6th and Taylor Streets in 1887. Lasting until 1931, this settlement was the nucleus of San Jose's Japantown (until recently the city's Corporation Yard, this block is just now being developed in 2008, starting with an archaological survey).

Harlem of the West: San Francisco's Fillmore Jazz Era, by Elizabeth Pepin and Lew Watts, published by Chronicle Books. Now separated from Japantown by the Geary Expressway, the African American community established jazz clubs, churches, and newspapers on Post Street after World War II. Excellent oral histories of musicians, plus Redevelopment Agency photos of the Japantown area just before it was destroyed by "progress."



Japantowns by Type:

California Japantowns and Internment Camps

Existing Japantowns:
San Francisco (index), San Jose,
Los Angeles (index), Little Tokyo (first page)

Historic Urban Japantowns:
Oakland and Alameda, Downtown Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Santa Barbara, and San Diego.

Suburban Towns:
Berkeley, Greater Oakland and Alameda, Boyle Heights (LA), Gardena, Sawtelle, and Pasadena,

Farming Centers:
Marysville, Walnut Grove, Lodi, Placer County, Guadalupe, Oxnard, Watsonville
San Luis Obispo, and Orange County

Fishing Centers:

Terminal Island and San Pedro;
Monterey (Cannery Row)

Permissions and Copyrights:

Maps and content are copyrighted by Ben Pease. Use of historic Sanborn maps for the Japantown Atlas is provided courtesy of The Sanborn Library, LLC.

Materials on this CCLPEP-funded website may be used freely for personal use and for and study.

For publication and/or commercial use please write or call us for permission, as the copyright situation is complicated. The Sanborn maps from which I traced our detailed Japantown maps are copyrighted by The Sanborn Library, LLC. So one needs to write them for permission to reproduce specific Japantown maps. So far it's been pretty easy to get permission, and we'll help you with the process.


The Japantown Atlas begins as a mostly internet-based "publication." Due to the large graphic files, it works best with a computer with a good internet connection (DSL or cable rather than dial-up). We hope this works for you!

If you or your relatives have a really slow computer and are frustrated by interminable downloads, but are interested in a particular Japantown (or several Japantowns), there's hope! Call or write us at the address below. Tell us what cities you'd like, how many copies, and give us your address, phone number, and email address. We can mail you color laserprints of particular maps for the cost of copies and postage.

When we started we weren't sure how to fit the Japantown Atlas to a reproducible format. As it turns out, we've been able to distill most of our big, working maps into page-sized maps...except these pages are either 11x17 or 8.5 x 14 inches. Which is still bigger than a book, but reproducible on the average copy machine.

Large-format color laserprints are $2.50 each. We may tinker with the price after we verify it covers all the costs of getting the maps to you.

Contact Japantown Atlas:

Ben Pease, historian/mapmaker
1717 Cabrillo St., San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: (415) 387-1437.
Email: benpease@japantownatlas.com


Japantown Atlas Project is partly funded by the California State Library: California Civil Liberties Public Education Project (CCLPEP) in 2006-2007.

Advisors include Donna Graves, Gail Dubrow, and Jill Shiraki of the Preserving California's Japantowns project, Rosalyn Tonai of the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Professor Art Hansen, CSU Fullerton.