Oregon Nikkei History

Sharing and preserving Japanese American history and culture

On this site we highlight photos from our historical collection housed at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland's Old Town neighborhood, as well as other information about history and Japanese Americans in Oregon. Please visit www.oregonnikkei.org to learn more about the Oregon Nikkei Endowment and its programs.
Posts tagged "Nihonmachi"

Dr. Kei Koyama in his dental office at NW 3rd Avenue and Couch Street in Portland’s Japantown, circa 1941. Dr. Koyama’s office was in the Merchant Hotel building.

Teruo Tsuboi at the Tsuboi Bros. jewelry store, possibly repairing a pocket watch, circa 1920. The Tsuboi Bros. store was located in Portland’s Japantown on what is now NW 6th Avenue and Burnside Street.

The Girl Reserves Nisei basketball team of Portland, Oregon, circa 1940.

Portland Sumo Club, circa 1930

Saito Fish Company, Portland’s Japantown

Mr. Saito driving the Saito Fish Co. car, circa 1915. The Saito Fish Market was located in Portland’s Japantown on what is now NW Fourth Avenue.

M. Hachiya Company, Nihonmachi

The M. Hachiya Co. General Merchandise store, with the family and employees in front of the store, circa 1912. The store was located on North 4th Street in Portland’s Nihonmachi (Japantown), beneath the Inouye Hotel.

Brothers Hisa Kiichi Hachiya and Masakichi Hachiya (originally from Okayama, Japan) were the owners of the store. Hisa is seated in the front row, 7th from left. Hisa’s wife, Kichi (Namba) Hachiya, is seated in the front row, 4th from right. Their son Henry is being held by the woman seated 5th from right, next to Kichi.

Jimmy’s Clothes Shop, Portland’s Nihonmachi

Portland, Oregon, was a hub from which Issei found work in the surrounding areas, or stayed and started businesses. In the early part of the 20th century, the area of Portland by the Willamette River north of W. Burnside Street became known as Nihonmachi (Japantown).

Portland’s Japantown grew to become a thriving heart of the Nikkei community, a central business district that was home to many families, schools, sports, and social activities. By 1940, there was a concentration of over 100 businesses located within an eight block area.

This photo shows Jimmy’s Clothes Shop, 311 W. Burnside Street in Portland, with owner Masaaki Usuda. The sign in the window on the left shows Mr. Usuda’s support of FDR’s National Recovery Administration (part of the New Deal), enacted in 1933 and overturned in 1935.

Learn more about Portland’s Japantown at Discover Nikkei.

Masaichi and Yukino Tsuboi

The Tsuboi Bros. jewelry store was located in Portland’s Japantown on what is now NW 6th Avenue and Burnside Street. Masaichi and Yukino Tsuboi are shown here in front of the store, circa 1920.

The Issei were often very successful businesspeople, so their forced removal during World War II had a devastating economic impact. The Tsuboi jewelry store appears to be one of the few businesses that was re-established after the war, at least for a time.