High-rises, parking lots and anonymous corporate buildings inhabit the stretch of Fourth Street between L and O streets formerly known as Japantown, a once-thriving neighborhood all but erased by wartime orders and wrecking-ball ambitions.
A special workshop at the California Museum paid tribute to the area, featuring a presentation from Kevin Wildie, author of the recently released book “Sacramento’s Historic Japantown: Legacy of a Lost Neighborhood.” The workshop, which focuses on “citizenship, constitutionality and the concept of redress,” will also include tours of “Uprooted! Japanese Americans During WWII,” the museum’s longest-running exhibit, led by formerly interned docents, as well as other activities.
Before the start of Japanese American internment in 1941, Sacramento housed the fourth-largest Japanese population in California and a thriving “J Town” rich with flavor and color, said Wildie, a history professor at Cosumnes River College.
Hundreds of businesses – produce and fish markets, restaurants, drug stores, photo studios, laundries, bathhouses – lined the streets, while sumo wrestling and Kabuki theater entertained denizens and visitors.
All of this detail and more came to light as Wildie pored through primary-source documents and interviewed old-timers who lived in the neighborhood.
The preview models of the homes at Westmount have been available for potential homebuyers since April 12.
According to Standard Pacific sales counselor Stephanie Pierce, there has been no movement toward installing a stop light at the difficult intersection of Mission and 10th Street. She did mention that converting 10th and 11th into two-way roads has been discussed, but admitted that it would have to wait until funds are available.
Sam Liccardo, San José city council member for District 3, said some time ago that “high-speed one-way couplets—the three lane, one-way roads that slice up our Downtown–have long been the bane of any pedestrian who wants to cross a street like 10th, 11th, 3rd, or 4th, without engaging in a game of high-speed, full-contact Frogger,” but that “converting those speedways to slower two-way streets requires many millions of dollars—converting and installing new traffic signals, altering required sidewalk ramps, and the like–that we won’t have for many years.”