Japantown Center and Pagoda from Geary Street

A huge chunk of Japantown’s buildings are up for sale, including the Kintetsu and Miyako Malls, the Radisson Miyako Hotel, and the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatre. Many are worried that the sale of these buildings could mean the end of almost 100 years of Japanese culture in San Francisco. Japantown’s centennial is to be celebrated this year. San Francisco’s Japantown is only one of three large established Japanese neighborhoods in the United States. The other two are Little Tokyo, Los Angeles and Japantown, San Jose.

The San Francisco Japanese community is working with the owners of the buildings, Kintetsu Enterprises of America and AMC Entertainment, to ensure that the character of the community remains intact after the sales. The malls are comprised of small mom-and-pop Japanese stores, many of which have been there over 20 years. It would be sad if the tenants were forced out by a new owner or developer, never to return again. The impact is magnified by the size of Japantown, once over 30 square blocks before WWII, it is now only 4 square blocks–half of which are up for sale. Japantown lost its Takoyaki stand last year, let’s hope it doesn’t lose its character forever.


  1. Is J Town being bought up by white Americans?? That would be ironic, don’t you think??

    #1 by Jimmy — February 10, 2006 @ 6:40 pm

  2. Why because Japanese nationals own most of the Monterey Penninsula, including Pebble Beach? I still don’t see the irony. These buildings that are for sale have much more intrinsic cultural value than their real estate prices may suggest.

    #2 by Nugget — February 12, 2006 @ 7:43 pm

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