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History Walk Provides a Way To Explore SF Japantown

History Walk An addition to the streetscape of San Francisco's Japantown provides visitors and residents alike with insight into the community's first hundred years of history and culture. The San Francisco Japantown History Walk is a self-guided tour consisting of 16 interpretive signs along an approximately 10-block route through the heart of Japantown. The project, which was led by the JCCCNC, is a permanent public display featuring historically and culturally significant landmarks in the community. This cultural heritage tourism program will take visitors on a self-guided walking tour, led by informative plaques and interpretive signage.

History Walk - FanThe History Walk includes the Japantown Sensu, a 15-foot tall sculptural interpretation of a Japanese folding fan that depicts the historic and modern community and traditional Japanese motifs.

Located on Webster Street between Geary Boulevard and Post Street, the Sensu will be both a visual focal point and the gateway to Japantown along the route of the scenic 49 Mile Drive.

"We believe this will continue to educate the broader community about the Nikkei community as well as to help culturally preserve our history and our stories," stated JCCCNC Executive Director Paul Osaki. "This history walk is an important element in helping to preserve our community. Visitors to Japantown will be able to learn about our historic community leaving better informed than when they came. This along with the San Francisco Japantown Landmark in the Peace Plaza helps to create the first permanent cultural heritage tourism program in San Francisco's Japantown."

The JCCCNC commissioned Naganuma Design & Direction (NDD Creative), a San Francisco creative design and communications firm to design the project for Japantown under a grant from the California State Department of Parks and Recreation, 2002 Resources Bond Act, Historical and Cultural Resources Preservation Opportunity Grant Program.

One of only three historic Japantowns in the United States, San Francisco's Japantown in the Western Addition traces its founding back to the 1906 Earthquake, which destroyed earlier areas of Japanese settlement in the city.

The History Walk signs explore the following themes:

SIGN 1 What Happened Here
SIGN 2 Injustice and Honor
SIGN 3 Uoki Sakai Market
SIGN 4 Commerce & Community
SIGN 5 Beginnings of Japantown in the Western Addition
SIGN 6 Benkyodo
SIGN 7 Educating the Nisei/JACL
SIGN 8 Heart & Soul - Continuing Our Traditions
SIGN 9 The Spirit of Nihonmachi
SIGN 10A In the Name of National Security
SIGN 10B Kodomo No Tame Ni (For the Sake of the Children)
SIGN 11 Issei Women's Legacy
SIGN 12 A New Ballgame
SIGN 13 Internment Camp & Return to Nihonmachi
SIGN 14 Redevelopment to Redress
SIGN 15 The San Francisco Japantown Sensu
SIGN 16 What You Leave Behind, Looking to the Future, Remembering the Past.

From the Nichi Bei Times Weekly.