Japantowns are communities of Japanese immigrants in foreign countries. The three most notable are in the Californian cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles. The earliest-recorded group to leave Japan arrived at Gold Hill, El Dorado County, California, in 1869. Most Japanese ­immigrants entered the United States through San ­Francisco, and its Japantown came to be ­commonly referred to as Nihonjin Machi, or “Japanese people’s town.” When World War II broke out, West Coast Japanese Americans were sent to relocation camps. After the war, their previously homogeneous neighborhoods changed to reflect the more dispersed character of the postwar community. The name of these communities was shortened to Nihonmachi, or Japantown. Most of the Japanese Americans moved out of them to other neighborhoods, seeking ...

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