Definition of the Study Area


For the purposes of this study, Japantown's boundaries are defined by the areas within and along California (north), O’Farrell (south), Gough (east) and Fillmore (west) Streets. Historically, many Japanese residences and businesses also existed beyond these boundaries, although this is considered the core.  Historical linkages to the area also extend to other sections of San Francisco, including the South of Market and Chinatown districts.


Constituents include those who live, work in, or rely on Japantown to meet cultural, social and commercial needs: residents, former residents, small business owners, large corporations, merchants, restaurateurs, community-based service organizations, members of the Japanese American ecumenical religious community, property owners, recent immigrants and those to whom Japantown, though they live elsewhere is still their neighborhood (Japantown residents total: 11,613 based on the 2000 U.S. Census) .  Demographically, the greater Japantown area has an older population.  In 2000, seniors aged 65 and over comprised 24% of the greater Japantown’s neighborhood, with young adults aged 25 to 34 making up a quarter of the area’s population.  In terms of race and ethnicity, whites make up 44% of the neighborhood’s population, followed by Asians at 30%, African Americans at 17%.  Within the Asian population, Chinese are slightly larger than Japanese with 31% and 30% respectively, of the Asian population.  Koreans make up the third largest APIU subgroup at 21%, with Filipinos following with 7% and Southeast Asians at 6%.  The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standard for low income for a four-person household in San Francisco is less than $81,450.  According to this measure and the 2000 U.S. Census, Japantown is approximately 75% very low to low income.


The following maps illustrate how the geography and demographics of Japantown have changed over the nearly 100 years of its history.