Donna Graves

Donna Graves, the director of Preserving California’s Japantown Project, is an historian and cultural planner based in Berkeley, California.

Updated October 2008

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Nikkei Heritage

Exploring the History of Richmond’s Flower Nurseries

In 2002, I had the good fortune to interview Tom Oishi, a Nisei flower-grower from Richmond, California, for an oral history project. Tom’s rascally sense of humor and flashbulb memory made our conversations about his hometown, the nursery business, his family and their lives within the Japanese American community extremely rich and great fun. He vividly recounted the day he left work as a welder at the Kaiser Shipyards and was taken, along with the rest of Richmond’s Japanese American community, to Tanforan Assembly Center – the first step in a years’ long journey of forced removal and incarceration ...

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Enduring Communities

Reclaiming California’s Japantowns

Preserving California’s Japantowns (PCJ) is the first statewide effort to identify, research, and document historic resources located in Japantowns throughout California. Sponsored by the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council (CJACLC), PCJ grew out of the energy from community forces rallied around the California Senate Bill 307 (SB307) campaign that focused on protecting the cultural heritage of the well-known Japantowns in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. One of the ways the CJACLC convinced the state legislature to pass SB307 was their reasoning that, of dozens of Japantowns, or Nihonmachi, scattered throughout California before WWII, only three remained ...

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