SAN FRANCISCO IN FOCUS: JAPANTOWN

San Francisco is the most beautiful city in places, despite it’s problems. Japantown is in existential danger: the Japantown mall owners are not giving the small businesses that operate within the malls, a break on their rent nor the utilities standard service charges for the months they were not allowed to open due to government orders. Rents are high, margins are slim, and already the Mall is seeing closures. Currently only Japanese themed shops are allowed to operate from the mall, if all the small businesses leave, I suspect this will change, and we will see what is left of Japantown diminish and basically disappear.

Japantown used to cover 40 blocks of the Western Addition, it is now about 6 blocks, and in reality just a couple of streets – Post, Laguna and Buchanan. The malls and Peace Plaza are the center of Japanese American life. In this age where anti-Asian hatred requires federal intervention, destroying a small and industrious Japanese American community seems somehow just a symptom of that hatred. I found myself wondering if Capitalism is essentially racist and misogynistic, and probably should go and report myself to the McCarthyist Reds under the Beds guardians against the Commie menace. I am no Communist, but there are such inequalities based on things out of people’s control, that capitalism is hardly doing a great job. Who knows. I’m just a writer, who likes to take a few photos now and again.

Whichever, whatever it is, I hope Japantown is saved, but with the increasing losses of beautiful little shops and the livelihoods of their owners in Japantown, I don’t see much hope for a positive resolution.

Forest Books: The best little bookstore in San Francisco
Looking towards Peace Plaza and the Pagoda from Buchanan

14 Comments

  1. leendadll

    Wow.. it looks a lot like “Little Tokyo” in downtown LA! Esp with the fire tower.

    The main mall in Little Tokyo and our small “Chinatown” both seemed to be struggling long before the pandemic. As I see how many businesses closed throughout Long Beach, I imagine things are tough for those areas too.

    But we also have “Sawtelle”. And a large portion of Torrance and Gardena are Japanese businesses.

    Sorry I haven’t been reading or commenting… got caught up in my stupid drama. I hope I’m back to norm for awhile.

      1. leendadll

        I had 6 increasingly bad work days. Finally snapped yesterday. But also got a xanax refill so today I’m MUCH better! Plus boss is “on vacation” (still emailing), and I’m only “working” a half day due to another dentist appt.

        My primary cats seem well. And momma & the 4 kittens stayed in my bedroom last night, which made me VERY happy. AND I caught 2 loose dogs so they could be reunited with their very panicked owners.

        Sooo…. as of this minute, Life is good!

      2. The Paltry Sum

        I just caught up with your posts. Darling you can’t carry on being made to feel so miserable by work! I wish I could help! Well done on the husky catching…and yea for xannies!

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