Japantown Survey and Preservation Project

Historic Context and Reconnaissance Level Survey, 2004

The report consists of the development of a Japantown historic context and a reconnaissance level survey of 67 buildings within and around the commercial core. Historic contexts are the patterns and trends in history by which a specific occurrence, property, or site is understood and its meaning (and significance) within history or prehistory is made clear. In the case of the Japantown project, the historic context is a record of the area from the perspective of the built environment and how that environment helps to interpret the history of Japanese Americans in San Jose and the United States. 

The Japantown Historic Context and Reconnaissance Level Survey was completed in September 2004 and formally accepted by the Historic Landmarks Commission in November 2004 and the San Jose City Council in January 2005. The report was conducted by historic resource consultants Carey & Co. Inc. under the direction of the San Jose Planning Department and a survey committee composed of members of the Japantown Community Congress, Japantown Business Association, Historic Landmarks Commission, and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. Funding for the project came from a federal grant, local grant and city funding.

Copies of the report have been distributed to the California Room at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, History San Jose and the Japanese American Resource Center/Museum.

The full report can be accessed at http://www.sanjoseca.gov/planning/Historic/japantown/Index.html

Intensive Level Survey and Refined Historic Context, 2005

The City and the Japantown Community Congress will conduct an intensive level survey and refine the historic context as Phase II of the three-part Japantown survey and preservation project. Phase II will provide baseline information about the location and significance of historic resources and is the critical step in understanding Japantown as a possible Traditional Cultural Property.

The City will contract with a preservation planning and survey professional meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards to conduct an intensive level survey of between 75 and 175 buildings, complete Department of Parks and Recreation 523 A and B forms with photographs, and refine the historic context developed in Phase I. The intensive level survey and refinement of the historic context will provide answers to the community and City regarding Japantown’s potential to qualify as a Traditional Cultural Property as well as for other designation options such as a National Register or City Landmark Historic district.

Regular updates on the project will be posted on the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, Historic Preservation website, and regular reports will be made to the Historic Landmarks Commission. The project will provide the individual significance determinations for buildings in the community that are important for owners in the development process. Funding for Phase II of the project will come from a California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Grant, a National Trust for Historic Preservation Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation Grant, and an Office of Historic Preservation Certified Local Government Grant.