Japantown Atlas - Northern California - Berkeley

Overview Map: Berkeley Japanese American Businesses of 1940
Notes: the bottom of this map overlaps with our Oakland and Alameda map. Download a PDF of Oakland/Alameda/Berkeley (3 pages, 620 kb).
Data courtesy of Preserving California's Japantowns project.

Berkeley had a large and complex Japanese American community, which grew considerably after the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, when an extra influx of both Nikkei and non-Nikkei refugees took up residence in the East Bay. The University of California drew a diverse array of young people. There were several individually operated boarding houses, as well as church run boarding houses for students (students could not always find lodgings in the wider community due to prejudice).

Much like Oakland, mom-and-pop sized businesses - especially groceries, florists, shoe repair shops, and cleaners - were scattered the major streets and streetcar lines – Telegraph Ave, Grove Street, and San Pablo Ave; a continuation of North Oakland streetcar strips. They tended to not be right downtown. In these outlying areas storefronts are somewhat discontinuous (corner stores are separated by blocks of residences) so Japanese American businesses represent a high proportion of the actual storefronts (along California, Grove, etc) even though our "dots" are several blocks apart.

The Preserving California's Japantowns found a large and varied assortment of Berkeley landmarks surviving in 2007. At a PCJ meeeting at Berkeley Methodist Union Church in July, 2007, it was mentioned that Berkeley had a "color line" -- people of color were not permitted to live north of Dwight or east of Grove. However the map indicates that at least some Japanese American businesses were located in "white" neighborhoods.