Nanka Nikkei Voices

Nanka Nikkei Voices (NNV) is a publication of the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California. Nanka means “Southern California.” Nikkei means Japanese American(s).”  The focus of NNV is to record the stories of the Japanese American Community in Southern California through the “voices” of average Japanese Americans and others who have a strong connection to our history and cultural heritage.

This series introduce various stories from the past 4 issues of Nanka Nikkei Voices.

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Little Tokyo is Born: Charlie Hama’s Restaurant on East First Street

The first Japanese to arrive in 1869 were two servants, T. Kamo and I. Nosaka, of the Kewen family living in El Molino Viejo, the Old Mill, previously owned by Mission San Gabriel in San Marino today. Their names are recorded in the 1870 Census. The late senior curator William Mason of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History believed they were members of the ill-fated Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony near Sacramento.

By 1884, there were fewer than fifty Japanese in town, one of whom, Hamanosuke Shigeta, opened a restaurant at 340 East First Street, in a …


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Nanka Nikkei Voices: The Japanese American Family

The Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California launched their fourth publication, Nanka Nikkei Voices: The Japanese American Family, in September 2010. The following is a shortened version of the introduction to the volume written by guest editor Naomi Hirahara.


I’ve traveled a lot domestically, but I haven’t necessarily spent much time in destination locales. Sure, there have been trips to New York City and Hawaii, but more have been vacation days in the farmlands of California and the wide-open “fly-over” towns in the Midwest.

Along the fog-covered Highway 99 in Central California, where Japanese America on the …



book business california Charlie Hama community family Hamanosuke Shigeta immigrants issei JAHSSC little tokyo Los Angeles nanka nikkei voices naomi hirahara nikkei NNV publications southern california