HomeJapanese AmericanLost KinjoHardly A Trace Of Once Thriving Stockton, CA's Japantown

Hardly A Trace Of Once Thriving Stockton, CA’s Japantown

(This is part of our ongoing series, Lost Kinjo- a look at the more than 40 Japanese communities that disappeared after World War II. It is supported by funding from the California Public Library Civil Liberties Project and the Takahashi Family Foundation.)     

By David Hosley

Of California’s four dozen or more historic neighborhoods in which Japanese immigrants made their homes more than a century ago, places such as Walnut Grove, San Jose and Marysville still have remnants of their Nihonmachi’s past.

Unfortunately, there’s almost nothing left of Stockton’s Japantown to show, owing to racism, forced removal and redevelopment.

The bigotry began before the Japanese Wakamatsu Colony was established in the Sierra foothills in 1869.  And it was aimed at a different Asian racial group as well – the Chinese who came because of the rush for gold. That bias produced a federal exclusion act in 1882 severely limiting immigration from China.  California farmers increasingly had to turn to Japan for a labor supply.  

First generation Issei farm laborers were brought to Hawaii, then a nation, with some continuing after a while on to California. Soon farm workers were recruited directly from Japan to the U.S. West Coast. 

Stockton was the product of a settler, Charles Weber, who came west in 1841 on a wagon train that experienced a series of disasters so numerous the party ended up killing all of their stock for food in the Sierra before finally coming upon the Stanislaus River in the lush northern San Joaquin Valley.

Weber found work with John Sutter briefly, but moved to San Jose and went into business with a man who owned property that had been a Mexican land grant near the San Joaquin River. In English, it was called French Camp.  Weber bought it in 1845 and attracted other settlers.  He named the new town Stockton after a hero of the Mexican American War.

The Gold Rush brought many thousands to the Sierra foothills, and Stockton became a supply center. During the winter it was a refuge for miners, including some of the Chinese immigrants who sought their fortune in “Gold Mountain” and stayed to build the railroads and other infrastructure that connected central California to the rest of the country.

Soon there was a Chinatown next to the port, but not without periodic efforts to purge the Chinese, reinforced by legislation up the road in the State Capitol.  In turn, Stockton’s city council adopted ordinances after an 1880 anti-Chinese rally aimed at forcing Chinese to leave. The biases of California were shared by residents from other states in the West and then formalized in Congress with passage of Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.  It banned immigration from China for 10 years.

So Central Valley farmers and others seeking an affordable work force looked elsewhere in Asia, and started a pipeline of workers from Japan, which was undergoing a transformation after opening to Western trade and undergoing its own social and economic struggle in the Meiji period.

Change Your Name, Change Your Crop

Ushijima Kinji came from a farming family in Kurume in the very southern part of Japan.  As a young man, Kinji became convinced that learning English would advance his future. Sometime after arriving in 1889 in San Francisco when he was 25, he changed his name to George Shima and found work in Sacramento.  Shima next went south and made the signature transition from being a field hand to becoming a labor contractor, which meant that he could speak English and manage a group of men to meet the landowner’s need for reliable and affordable workers.

But Shima was so capable that he took the further step, one less common, to save enough of his earnings to start buying land.  It wasn’t great land, as it was in the boggy Delta that was nearly impassable most of the year.  But very affordable. 

Shima was an innovator, and he used both hand labor and new tools to begin successful reclamation efforts. He tried growing rice but wasn’t very successful. So, he turned to potatoes, which became a bountiful niche and had the bonus of producing yields twice a year.  He did so well financially that he was adding acreage at a remarkable rate. An example of his expanding holdings is found in the Stockton Evening Mail of October 3, 1910.  Deed recordings show W.Q. and Gertrude Wright selling Shima portions of four sections they owned in the Delta.  Price: $10.  It was pennies an acre.

Shima also mastered the entire supply chain, including innovations in planting spuds and irrigation of the loamy soil, technological advances by working with Holt Brothers Manufacturing, building boats to get his products to market via the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, and branding them Shima Fancy on attractive packaging.

A dozen years after arriving in America, Shima was the leading grower of potatoes in California.  Some were calling him “Potato King,” and then he leveraged his standing by partnering with a young lawyer from Beverly Hills. Lee Allen Phillips had access to capital that allowed Shima to avoid most of the impacts on a series of laws adopted at the state and federal levels to restrict property ownership by immigrant Asians.  

Although Shima owned land both before and after the Alien Land Law of 1913, the pair broke new ground in agribusiness by partnering. Phillips’ corporation was buying lots of acreage in the Delta. which he in turn leased to Shima.  In some cases, they were joint owners. Shima held stock in a company Phillips started in 1912 called California Delta Farms. 

Shima was an expert at building relationships.  And he remembered those who helped him achieve success. The Stockton Evening and Sunday Record reported in 1912 that Shima had hosted a banquet at his cattle ranch headquarters.  His guests were wholesale buyers and salesmen, and they were picked up in one of his company boats and given a ride to the affair. 

Shima had his headquarters in Stockton’s Japantown.  He was one of the partners who built the Stockton Hotel. His farming operations were in the Delta in the west.  Shima Tract, for instance, can be seen in the distance as you drive south on I-5 and enter the Stockton city limits. 

Fighting Anti-Japanese Laws

Shima was also mindful of other Japanese settlers, and he led the Japanese Association of America from 1908 to 1925, often advocating for equity in civil rights and economic opportunity.  Before there was the Japanese American Citizen League, the JAA was an important voice for the Japanese community that was facing an increasing assault from agricultural interests in the state and beyond, often taken in the form of legislation restricting further immigration or limiting the ability to own property.

Shima had experienced personal vilification when he purchased a residence in Berkeley in 1909. Neighbors opposed the deal, so did real estate agents who felt his family’s presence would drive down home values.  A newspaper used the term “Yellow Peril” in describing the fears.  Shima built a wall around the property.  But he also astutely proceeded to get involved in the community, contributing scholarships to the University of California and a gift to the YMCA.

California’s Alien Land Law was amended in 1920 to expand limits on leasing land to Issei.  There was support both from agricultural organizations and business leaders to further limit the number of immigrants coming to America from Asia.  California’s Central Valley was home to some of the most ardent advocates for constraining the rights of Asian residents.  The Japanese Association of America was measured in response, citing data from government reports on the small proportion of land owned in California by Japanese, and the population of Japanese heritage in 1919 of 2.5%.

Two men with a horse drawn plow in a field.
George Shima steering a plow through a Delta field, circa 1909. Photo Credit: Public Domain.

Every year in the early 1920’s, legislation was introduced to cap the number of immigrants, especially from Japan.  But because of marriages in the previous decade, Japanese community growth would increasingly come from children born in the U.S. And this second generation, the Nisei, were citizens by birth.  They provided a way around the alien land laws. Many first-generation farmers put their land in the name of their male offspring, or formed growers’ associations or other legal entities that insulated their hard-earned investments in property.

Shima did not live to see the heyday of the Japanese community in Stockton.  He died from a stroke in Los Angeles in 1926.  His passing was reported across the country and around the world, including an obituary in the New York Times.  There are edifices bearing his name in Stockton and his birthplace in Japan.  Gold made Stockton an important city.  Farmers growing food outside the city limits like Shima the Potato King took it to the next level.

Growing Stockton’s Japantown

On the day in 1906 of the big earthquake in northern California, a young immigrant stepped foot in North America.  Masataro Tabuchi was 18, and he had left Japan, via Hong Kong, for Vancouver.  His parents had sent with him on the Empress of China some barrels of soy sauce, which he was to sell and then return to home.  Grandson Jim Tabuchi tells AsAmNews that the barrels were stolen or misplaced, and that Masaharo instead made his way to San Francisco, where he supported himself for a time washing dishes.

The next stop was Sacramento, where Masaharo found work in Sakiyama Company, a dry goods store.  When the store’s owners wanted to expand to a second location in Stockton, he went to help establish it.  The 1920 U.S. Census finds Masataro living on South Commerce Street with N. Sakiyama, who may have been the store owner or a relative.  Masataro’s vocation is listed as dry goods salesman. 

Through an arranged marriage, Masataro wed Masuye Miyai when she arrived in Seattle, and they had three children by the time of the 1930 Census and he was now the owner of N. Sakiyama. Their children were a part of a baby boom that swelled the Japanese and Japanese American population of Stockton.

Also in 1906, a request was made to establish a Buddhist Church in Stockton.  A building to house worshippers was completed two years later on West Washington Street.  With the growth of Japantown and farming areas around Stockton, a temple was built, and the Buddhist community was incorporated as a California religious organization.  The temple and associated structures were not only a religious hub.  Over the years, the church often hosted social events, gatherings of Japanese American youths and festivals that celebrated harvests.  

Stockton gained its own radio station, KGW, in 1921, a new edutemcational institution in 1923, the College of the Pacific, and two years later the Civic Memorial Auditorium.

According to maps of the time, the Japanese part of downtown grew to a core of four blocks by five blocks with many hotels and restaurants, but also a hospital, doctor and dentist offices, fish and sweets stores, plus a range of churches, cleaners and dry goods purveyors. Mixed in were some industrial and manufacturing enterprises and a library.  Overlapping were other Asian businesses, including ones owned by Stockton’s growing Filipino community.

Japantown in Stockton began adjacent to the Stockton Channel and benefitted from its growing marine industries.  In 1927, Congress allocated funds to build a deep-water ship channel that was completed by 1933. Deeper water meant bigger ships taking cargoes abroad and up and down California’s coastal ports, filled with crops from surrounding farms including Tokay gapes, pears, peaches and asparagus.  

As the 1930’s came to an end, San Joaquin County was among the top four counties in agricultural production in California.  And a leader in a state that grew half the nation’s grapes.  Railroads complemented the increased maritime delivery capacity, with products able to travsel to distant markets to the east and north thanks to refrigeration advancements.

The San Joaquin Valley avoided some of the crushing economic problems of the Depression because its economy was so focused on agriculture.  Refugees from the Dust Bowl turned up in the Valley, competing for field work, but the children of the Japanese immigrants were excelling in school, and gaining more options for a vocation than their parents had experienced.

Always Remember That Day

Ben Chikaraishi’s family ran a hotel in Stockton’s Japantown.  He recalled in a 1998 oral history that most of the customers were transient, staying a short time in what he called one of the poorer parts of town.  His dream was to enter the medical profession. He attended College of the Pacific for two years and then transferred to study optometry in Berkeley.  Chikaraishi was in his last term on December 7, 1941, had gone to church that morning and just come back to his lodgings:

“I turned the radio on. I started to change my clothes to my everyday clothes. And then all of a sudden, it came over the radio that Pearl Harbor is being bombed. And the US Missouri is being hit, and you can hear all these noises—all these planes and sirens and everything.

I didn’t think anything of it because in those days there was a producer named Arch Obler and he was always producing these spectacular programs on the radio. So, I thought, well, that’s one of Arch Obler’s programs. Then they kept insisting, ‘This is live, this is live. We’re broadcasting live from Pearl Harbor.’ 

Then you could hear the planes. You could hear the sirens; you could hear the bombing. And then, all of a sudden, you realize that it was real. So I stood there, oh, I don’t know…maybe only about 10 seconds but it seemed like minutes that I was sitting there and thinking, oh, my goodness, that is horrible! I’ll always remember that day.”

Waterfront with ships
Stockton’s waterfront about 1900, with Japantown developing on the right side. Photo Credit: Courtesy Holt-Atherton Special Collection, UOP.

The military was already gearing up capacity prior to Pearl Harbor.  Stockton’s shipyards were busy with government contracts.  Two minesweepers, YMS 94 and YMS 95, were nearing completion not far from Japantown on December 7th, and were followed by many maritime vessels that aided in the war effort. 

The United States at war would affect Stockton in many ways.  But the uncertainty that its residents of Japanese heritage felt was compounded by immediate government action that limited where they could go, and when they could do it.  Curfews, and exclusion zones for travel were put in place.  Some Japanese American students in Bay Area colleges or vocational schools were sent home to the Central Valley, but Chikaraishi was not:

“The war started in December, and I stayed in school. I was going to graduate in May. But then we got our orders. My sister called me that you’d better come home because we got our order to pack our things and dispose of our business and belongings as we’re going to be in an assembly center in one week. I had to leave school just a month before graduation. I left Berkeley in, I think it was in April, around April the 12th or so. And we were put into the Stockton Assembly Center.”

April saw a spate of divestment in Japantown.  M. Mamamoto sold his soft drink business to a Mr. Lundy.  Robert Fong purchased the stock and furnishings of Utsumi’s milkshake and confectionary store. Kaoru Ito said in an oral history that the Bank of America branch officer agreed to assume responsibility for the Ito’s commercial holdings, collecting rent and sending it to them in camp.

Nisuke and Misako Yoshikawa had a barbershop and were raising five children when all of them were ordered to assemble at the fairgrounds.  Their eldest, Richard, recalled his family’s experience in the spring of 1942:

“Dad had a customer that had done missionary work in Japan.  He spoke fluent Japanese and volunteered to take care of our house while we were gone.  We stored most of our things in the basement and the missionary lived on the top floor.  He didn’t pay rent but did pay the property taxes.”

An advertisement was run for M. Tabuchi department store on April 3, 1942, announcing they were forced out after 25 years in business.  It offered sale prices on a range of items from blue jeans to sheets, concluding “we sincerely want to thank you for your past patronage and hope that again in the near future we will be able to serve you as in the past.”

The brief sale ended, and a deal was reached with a buyer for the rest of the inventory.  When family members went to pick up the check, relates Jim Tabuchi, it was for one tenth of the agreed amount.  They refused to leave without getting a new check for the full price of $10,000.

Behind Barbed Wire

There had not been much question at the federal level that Japanese immigrants and their children might be an asset in the Japanese military effort.  If Hawaii could be attacked, perhaps the western portion of the mainland would soon be within reach. What should be done to protect the country from invasion?  The next steps included one which violated the U.S. Constitution.

Inspectors look through luggage of Japanese going into prison camp in 1942.
Officials inspect luggage of Japanese at intake post near Stockton Assembly Center barracks in 1942. Photo credit: War Relocation Authority

It was decided early in 1942 to remove more than 100,000 people of Japanese heritage, the majority of them citizens, and on February 19th President Roosevelt issued an executive order to make it operationally possible.  Where to house them was left to a newly created War Relocation Authority and its director Milton Eisenhower.

Eisenhower favored voluntary segregation, but implementation proved problematic and so the WRA instituted details for forced removal.  So-called resettlement centers would have to be identified and built in the interior of the U.S., and that would take time.  So an interim housing solution was sought and 300 locations considered where Japanese and Japanese Americans could be initially incarcerated.  In California, public facilities were selected that included horse racetracks, military housing and county fairs.

Those held at the Stockton fairgrounds were primarily from San Joaquin County.  The fairgrounds were southeast of downtown.  New barracks were needed to augment existing buildings. Rain and logistical problems held up construction. Crews were still on the site when the first groups to be incarcerated arrived on May 10, 1942, after registering first at the Stockton National Guard Armory.

Some, like the Tabuchi family, were just a mile from where they had lived or worked.  Others were from smaller Delta towns or rural farms. Even though no one was put up in horse stalls, the smell from the stables lingered.  Making humans live in horse stalls had been planned, but not carried out.  Bathrooms and showers were better than at some assembly centers, such as Walerga north of Sacramento. But everyone was a prisoner.

Masako Tabuchi, recently graduated from the University of California, was back home working in her parent’s store when Pearl Harbor happened.  After several months at the fairgrounds, she wrote a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, offering her perspective on coverage they had published. The letter describes the crowded conditions, and orders to stay at least ten feet from the barbed wire fences, concluding with this sentence:

“If people are to be penalized for accidents of birth, then I am a stranger to the ideals of democracy to which I had been exposed all these 22 years.”

After the summer of mostly enforced idleness, the majority of those held in Stockton were sent all the way across the country to a swamp in southeastern Arkansas.  The property near Rohwer had been taken over from the Farm Security Administration after the former owners failed to pay back taxes. It had not been kept up for years. 

A crowd is gathered among baggage and trunks.
First day, Stockton Assembly Center, 1942. Photo Credit: War Relocation Center Public Domain.

And like the fairgrounds, the concentration camp buildings weren’t ready for occupation.  They were hastily built by mostly inexperienced workers, using substandard materials. The land was flooded in places and tree stumps stuck up where fields might have been plowed.

There was plenty of acreage to farm within the camp boundaries once fields had been prepared by early in 1943, most of the work done by the California farmers. Crops planted included about a hundred different fruits and vegetables, which greatly improved meals. Up to that point, most of the food had been from government surplus.

Released From Incarceration

Students who had been forced to drop out were allowed to apply to colleges in the interior of the U.S.  Others were allowed out to take vocational courses, or jobs in the defense industry or on farms in the middle of the country or east coast.  The first Japanese American to be released for work from Rohwer left on December 12, 1942 for a job in Liberty Bell, Illinois.

Richard Shizuo Yoshikawa had been studying photography in Los Angeles when Executive Order 9066 was issued.  He was able to leave Rohwer in 1943 and resume his studies in New York City at the School of Modern Photography.  He had not surrendered his camera upon incarceration in Stockton, as stipulated by authorities, and took hundreds of images in Arkansas prior to his release. He had worked as an x-ray technician at the camp hospital, which meant he had access to a darkroom where he could process his photographic film.  A friend on the outside had sent shipments of chemicals and photographic paper.

Yoshikawa put himself through school by taking x-rays for St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village.  He moonlighted by developing pictures for camera girls hitting the hotspots of Manhattan.  When he took his Army physical, he failed because of poor eyesight.

Stockton’s Ben Chikaraishi had been working in Rohwer’s hospital under supervision of a licensed optometrist.

“I left camp in 1943, on the Fourth of July. I had started to make negotiations to leave camp quite some time earlier and finally received clearance.

I packed a suitcase and walked to the main road, which is about three-quarter mile from the camp. And then I stood there waiting for the bus to come. That’s when I first realized what it was like outside of the camp. Because I was in camp for eighteen months and behind barbed wires, your activities were all confined within the area of the camp.

I got on the bus and my first decision I had to make outside of camp was “Where do I sit?” The White people sat in the front of the bus. The Blacks were in the back. And so, I got on and I thought, “Gee, I don’t know where should I sit?” So I said, “Gee, we were confined so long and we were discriminated so much that maybe I’ll be considered a black,” so I went to the back and I sat in the Black area. The bus driver stopped the bus, and he says, “Hey, you gotta sit in the front.” So, I got up and moved, but I didn’t come way in the front either, I sat right by the dividing line.

That’s the first time I realized how much discrimination that the Blacks had gone through. And it’s really amazing. We were discriminated on the [West] Coast but at least we were able to sit in a bus wherever we felt like sitting. Our discrimination was very different, not as intense as theirs was. That’s the first time I realized that.”

Others had volunteered in 1943 and 1944 to serve in the military, some joining the all-Japanese combat group that fought in Europe.  Some went into the Military Intelligence Service, training to serve as interpreters or gathering intelligence.  

George Tabuchi was the first in his immediate family to return home, leaving Arkansas in 1945 and making his way back to Stockton by train.  While at Rohwer, his father had anticipated the war would last only three years, and that the family should be ready to re-launch their store.  George was met at the station by Elizabeth and Catherine Humbargar, teachers at Stockton High School.  The sisters had volunteered to come into the fairgrounds in 1942, bringing books and school supplies to their former students and their siblings before they were transported to Arkansas.

The Humbargar sisters had also written hundreds of reference letters during the war so Japanese American students could be released from camps to continue their educations.  They also helped them get jobs, and as Japanese Americans started returning to Stockton, as George did, they formed a committee to identify places to stay and help with meals and employment.

Starting Over

What had been a coherent Japanese community in Stockton on Thanksgiving Day in 1941 was asunder by the time the concentration camp in Rohwer was closed at the end of November, 1945. Only a minority of those who lived or worked in Japantown before Pearl Harbor returned to Stockton, and of those who came back, many sought their futures in other places over the next few years.  

Some cashed out. John Hiyashi sold the Nobby Hotel in April, 1945.  K. Tatayama sold the former Mikado Hotel to Alice Richards in August, 1945.  The Japanese neighborhood had seen tremendous change in who lived and operated businesses during the war, and now more upheaval was ahead.

Richard Shizuo Yoshikawa returned to help his parents start over.  He married in 1947 and opened a commercial photography studio.  Successful in business, he became a community leader, serving on the community college trustees and later becoming a county supervisor for a decade.  Yoshikawa testified at a hearing on redress for those incarcerated during World War II, and the family’s archives are in a special collection at the University of the Pacific.

George Tabuchi
George Tabuchi, third from left, at Stockton Assembly Center, 1942. WRA photo, public domain.

George Tabuchi was reunited with his parents, two sisters and other relatives that summer.  The government then sent photographers around the country to show former prisoners resuming their lives. Masuye and Masataro posed with smiles in front of their Stockton home, an image now in the national archives. They planned to re-open the store, but the family patriarch became ill and died just a handful of months later in October.

With Masataro’s passing the idea of reopening M. Tabuchi in Japantown was delayed. George had just started at College of the Pacific, studying business. His older sister Masako, now married to Junsuke Agari, had a job at the college as well, according to the 1947-48 Stockton city directory. Jun had worked at M. Tabuchi’s as a teenager before the war and left Rohwer in 1943 for Des Plaines, Illinois. Later he would join the Army. After Military Intelligence Service training at Fort Snelling in the fall of 1944, he served under Douglas MacArthur in the occupation of Japan. 

Finally, in 1949 M. Tabuchi Department Store re-opened with a number of family members working full or part-time.  George was graduating from Pacific, and like his sister Masako, putting aside other vocational interests his degree may have engendered.  

George and Jun later became partners and the store flourished, adding a line of uniforms that clothed most of the area’s law enforcement.  Tabuchi’s department store was also valued as a purveyor of hats and boots.  It was open every day of the year but New Year’s, an important holiday for almost every Japanese American family.  

Demolishing Blocks and Blocks

If dislocation from the war years decimated Japantown in Stockton, there were government decisions—municipal, state and federal—that killed it with a one-two punch.  Nationally, the post-war baby boom caused a flurry of construction, including President Eisenhower’s desire to update the country’s infrastructure, among them new interstate transportation initiatives.

At the state and local levels, neighborhoods that had declined during the Depression and after the war were targeted for urban renewal, with local elected officials deciding it was better to tear down aging city cores rather than fix the neighborhoods largely inhabited by people of color.

In Stockton, city ordinances had long forbidden Chinese from building houses north of City Hall. Over time, Stockton gained an informal but understood dividing line enforced by real estate interests.  North Stockton was for Caucasian homeowners for the most part. Japantown, Chinatown and Little Manila and other areas south of downtown were for mixed use, including industrial enterprises. When public housing projects were approved, for instance, none were in northern neighborhoods.

The 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act fostered concepts for a new West Coast multi-lane route from Canada to Mexico.  In 1970, it was determined to put the portion of I-5 in the Sacramento and Stockton areas on the west sides, and in Stockton to link it to Highway 99 with repositioned Highway 4.

Together, urban renewal downtown and acquisition of land for the new path of Highway 4 severed what remained of the Asian American sections of Stockton.  Jim Tabuchi remembers sitting on his mother’s lap in their car while watching a wrecking ball smash into their former store.  Relocating to the ground floor of the Masonic Temple building, at Sutter Street and Market, the partners served a loyal clientele even as Stockton grew, expanding the city limits to the north.

George became a pillar of the Stockton business community.  He chaired the Stockton Business Improvement Area, became a pilot and a commander of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Air Command, and belong to the Stockton Rotary Club, Calvery Presbyterian Church and even the Stockton Golf and Country Club.

As the end of the 20th century approached, Jun and George decided to close the store.  Their children didn’t want to take over, and so they had another going out of business sale in the spring of 2000, this time a voluntary one.  It made headlines and Jun, now 83, reflected for both of them:

“We’ve raised four children each and they’re all doing very well, so there’s no regret about them not taking over.  They’ve got their own interests and we respect them for that.”

Lost Kinjo

By then, there was hardly a trace of Japantown.  Fewer than a dozen buildings were left from the original Japanese neighborhood that flourished before Pearl Harbor.  One that endures today is the Hotel Stockton, in which George Shima invested a piece of his fortune.  The iconic building is now renovated into affordable single person apartments. 

The Japanese Hospital at 25 South Commerce Street closed and was made into a hotel before the war, and that building still stands.  Chinatown is remembered through augmented street signs and public art.  The Filipino American National Historical Society museum is nearby on East Weber Street.

Only .2% of Stockton’s third of a million residents are of Japanese heritage.

Jim Tabuchi’s tells AsAmNews his first job was cleaning the sidewalk in front of the family store when he was a pre-teen.  While in high school, he continued to work in the family business, which included fitting customers for new shoes.  He looks back with admiration after more than a century since his grandfather first came to Stockton:

“It gives me a sense of pride that my family could go through so much and become as successful as they have.  I have this firm foundation from my family to really strive and do things that I might not think are possible.”

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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