JAPANTOWN, SAN FRANCISCO, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 - The Japantown Task Force, Inc. with deep regret and sadness, announced the passing of its long time Executive Director Robert "Bob" Hamaguchi. Bob held the position of Executive Director for eleven years since May 2006. He entered peacefully into the spiritual world on September 4, 2017 (Labor Day) surrounded by his family members. He was a champion in the San Francisco Japantown Community and was instrumental in establishing the long-term sustainability for the Japantown community through the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic and Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS) and Japantown Community Benefit District (Japantown CBD). For over 10 years, Bob worked closely with his staff members, Board of Directors, community leaders, residents, business owners, and civic leaders to develop the JCHESS documents which would help guide Japantown towards specific areas such as Land-Use, Public Spaces, Cultural Heritage, Economic Development and Marketing and Health and Safety.
After a long journey of more than 10 years, Bob rallied the Japantown community around the JCHESS which was finally and unanimously, approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on October 1, 2013. Bob worked tirelessly even during his illness. He worked up to his final days and was able to hear that his hard work and vision for the Japantown Community Benefit District (JCBD) received ballot approval and was passed on July 25, 2017. This accomplishment was the highlight of his career goal. The Japantown Task Force, its Board of Directors, and the community at large are indebted to his selfless service and dedication for the betterment and long-term sustainability of San Francisco's Japantown.
The Board of Directors addressed the establishment of a transition committee to assure the continuation of JTF activities and support of the staff in Bob's absence, as well as the formation of the Community Benefit District into the fiscal year.
A special celebration of life ceremony will be held at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (1840 Sutter Street) in San Francisco on September 23, 2017 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.