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Many people driving by elegant Japantown appreciate the graceful architecture of the pagodas and fountains but do not know much about the Japanese community that has long been a vibrant part of San Francisco. Japantownone of only three left in this countrybegan as Nihonjinmachi, or “Japanese People’s Town,” after the first Japanese arrived here in 1869. As their numbers increased, institutions arose to serve them, including churches, schools, and various civic and social organizations. The population drifted through various parts of the city and finally settled in the Western Addition after the 1906 earthquake.
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In this new retrospective, the Japantown Task Force, Inc., an organization dedicated to preserving the cultural and historical resources of the Japanese community, presents a fantastic collection of vintage photographs from the archives of the National Japanese American Historical Society, the Japanese American National Library, and the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, as well as from local, private sources.