The Founders of
Japantown San Jose were single men.
However, later, it was the women who formed sewing classes, a midwifery, the
homes that grew to be the essences of the Japantown neighborhood and farming
cluster community in Santa Clara Valley.
In the 1920's in San Jose, Japantown was lively with performances at Okida
Hall on 6th Street. There were a number of barber shops, restaurants, cafes,
a bath house (public ofuro - men separate from women) and dry goods stores
selling all manner of American made items and all the fixings needed to make
good Asian food.
Asian Exclusion Acts
caused by economic and racial prejudice limited first immigrants from
building their businesses, owning land and integration into general San Jose
Women arrived as picture brides, often identifying their future spouses by a
photo that was sent to Japan from the USA. In the years since, more
information has been sought, acquired and documented about how the
Among businesses were
the Minato Bath-house, grocery stores, a laundry, coffee shops, 'China-meshi',
Japanese Fish Market, a department store, a hardware store, barber shops,
hair salons, optometrists, dentists, a soda fountain and a hospital. Not all
existed at the same time, but familiar names such as Dobashi, Santo,
Nishioka, Kogura, Tatsuno, Kawakami