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Ideas Sought for Sustaining Japantown San Francisco for Future Generations

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A scene from the Japantown Cultural District town hall meeting last month at the JCCCNC. (Japantown Task Force)

SAN FRANCISCO — A Japantown Cultural District daytime town hall meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Issei Memorial Hall, Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco Japantown.

For those who missed the evening meeting last month, this is an opportunity to share your vision for the future of Japantown. Join the discussion and learn about the new Japantown Cultural District.

Japantown has been designated as a San Francisco Cultural District by the city, and embraces an opportunity to define and determine its own future. Through a community-wide collaborative effort, the historic neighborhood embarks a path to develop innovative strategies for its survival and sustainability.

The vision of the Japantown Cultural District is that “San Francisco Japantown will thrive as a culturally rich, authentic, and economically vibrant neighborhood which will serve as the cultural heart of the Japanese and Japanese American communities for generations to come.”

The Japantown Cultural District, one of eight San Francisco Cultural Districts, is a formalized collaborative partnership with the City and County of San Francisco to stabilize historic communities at risk of displacement and gentrification. Japantown Task Force (JTF) was granted with support to develop a strategic plan for Japantown through extensive community engagement and input.

By utilizing JCHESS as a foundational document, the Japantown Cultural District team will compile a report called the CHHESS (Cultural History, Housing, and Economic Sustainability Strategy) Report, which will be submitted to the city in 2020, and will focus on implementable action items.

The CHHESS will address six key areas:

1. Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability

2. Tenant Protections

3. Arts and Culture

4. Economic and Workforce Development

5. Land Use/Environmental Resilience

6. Cultural Competency/Community Protocol

It is for the community to define what these six areas mean to them and how they will be addressed and leveraged for years to come. The CHHESS report process gives the community a voice, and an opportunity develop a model composed of strategies and infrastructures necessary to sustain Japantown into the future.

This community project will not only engage the geographic area of San Francisco Japantown, but the whole community, now dispersed throughout the region. The Japantown Cultural District is a precious opportunity for the community to strengthen its existing connections, build new alliances, and come up with innovative solutions.

For more information, call (415) 346-1239 or visit http://japantowntaskforce.org

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