Chinatowns are more common in general across the world. One of these is the famous Chinatown in Yokohama, Japan. But have you heard of Japantown before? If yes, where do you think they are located? Well, you can find out here!
A Japantown is also called as ‘Little Japan’ or ‘Little Tokyo’ or ‘Nihonmachi’ etc. Japan has some people who have emigrated to other countries over time in search of opportunities. Japanese diaspora has been present in many countries in the West and the East. They constitute the Japanese migrants and their descendants. Japanese merchant families used to live in large numbers in the Philippines and Indonesia in the medieval era. However recent migration to the US, Canada, and Brazil has happened especially during the Meiji Restoration around late 19th and early 20th century. Brazil and the US (mainly Hawaii and the California Bay Area) have been the largest settlements of Japanese people outside of Japan until today, even though many people have returned to Japan after World War II.
San Francisco Japantown is a very vibrant place. It has a ‘Peace Tower’ and a cultural center as well as many ethnic restaurants and shops. There is a famous Cherry Blossom Festival that happens twice every year in the California Bay Area.
Among all the Japantowns across the world, the San Francisco Japantown has a long history and is one of the only three official Japantowns in the United States. Before World War II, there used to be many Japanese people living in the Bay Area. Now, only a few thousand people of Japanese descent live there. Some families run shops, restaurants and trade agencies in the area. Many societies such as the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS), Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) and Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) are present in the area trying to promote Japanese American sub-culture and enhance the life of an average Japanese American. There are other Non-Profit Organizations such as Kimochi.Inc that help Asian American students to network.
Japanese Brazilians are the largest Portuguese speaking Asian community in the world. Brazil holds the place as the largest settlement of Japanese people outside of Japan. ‘Liberdade’ in Sao Paulo is a district that has the largest concentration of Japanese outside of Japan. There is a similar Japanese district in Argentina called ‘Colonia Urquiza’ in La Plata.
Japan`s presence has existed in different parts of Asia for a very long time. The Philippines has many Japantowns. There are Little Tokyos in Manila, Cebu, Davao and other cities. China, Hong Kong, and Thailand also have a significant number of Japanese migrants. In recent times, Japanese migration into South East Asia, South Asia, and Australia has been on the rise due to business expansions and new opportunities for the young. There are Japanese neighborhoods and townships in Sataku in Haldia (India), Gubei in China, Artarmon in Sydney (Australia) and others which comprises of mainly Japanese expatriates, businessmen, and their families. Also, Malaysia is a famous destination for Japanese retirees. Mont Kiara in Kaulalampur and Little Japan in Johor are the famous Japanese inhabited areas in Malaysia.
Dusseldorf, Germany has the biggest Japantown in Europe. Many main centers such as Paris and North London have a significant number of Japanese migrants.
Do you have any Japantowns in your country?