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The Kinmon Community Center Project

Bringing History to
Our Future

A Permanent Future for Our Community

Section I       
The Brie
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Help us restore the heart of Japantown!

Welcome to the Kinmon Community Center Restoration Project. We are embarking on a journey to revitalize a historic building located at 2031 Bush Street, turning it into a vibrant hub for the entire Japantown community.

This Kinmon Community Center project will restore for community wide use a historic building located in Japantown at 2031 Bush Street in District 5 of San Francisco.

The rehabilitated building will open the building up for classes, nonprofit offices, social and legal services, meetings, cultural activities including art, exhibit, event, and performance spaces. This project will bring together multidisciplinary services with multicultural competencies to work against the inequities that our API communities have faced.

 

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Section II   
History of the Site

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The Golden Gate Institute, or better known as “Kinmon Gakuen,” represents a history and place that goes beyond its official title and original use as a Japanese language school. Established in 1911, just five years after Japantown was established, and at a time when anti-Japanese sentiment was at one of its historical peaks, a group of first generation Japanese community leaders (Issei) joined together to create a Japanese language school for their children (Nisei), who were prohibited from enrolling into public schools.

They envisioned a school that would not only provide language classes but introduce important cultural, traditional and social customs and values that could be shared and passed down to future generations.

After many years of dedicated fundraising, a new building for Kinmon Gakuen was constructed in 1926, where it currently stands today. At its zenith, over 600 students were enrolled at Kinmon Gakuen.

During the war, the school was seized by the U.S. Government and was used to process the hundreds of Japanese families that lived in San Francisco before they were sent to concentration camps. The school was then entrusted to the Booker T. Washington Community Center and was returned to the Japanese when the war had ended. 

 

In 1931, the school was visited by Prince and Princess Takamatsu and, in 1934 by Prince and Princess Kaya. Then, in 1960, Crown Prince and Princess Akihito also visited the school and participated in lessons with the children.

Section III
The Promise

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While the current state of the building does not meet current codes and lacks ADA accessibility, we see this as an exciting opportunity for transformation. Upgrading the space will not only bring it up to code but also make it more inclusive and welcoming.

 

 

The enhanced facility will serve as a vital hub for Japantown area community-based agencies, catering to the needs of low-income API households. These agencies include, Kimochi Senior Center, Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC), Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), API Legal Outreach, Japanese American Religious Federation, Chibi-chan Preschool, and Nihonmachi Little Friends, just to name a few. 

The new upgraded space will renovate the existing auditorium with state of the art technology with gender specific restrooms, a full service kitchen, social hall, classrooms, meeting rooms, exhibit rooms, and office space. Full rehabilitation will include building alterations to update it to current building codes that will require numerous architectural and structural upgrades of this historic building, as well as upgrades to the electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems, and the addition of an elevator. All new construction would be compatible and sensitive to the historic character of the school.

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Section IV
How You Can Help

To achieve our promise, we hope to raise $5 Million in the next year to keep our timeline on track. There are many ways you can help us move towards our fundraising goal.

Volunteer

 

Have a knack for fundraising? Join our fundraising committee. We are always looking for people to help with fundraising mailing, social media and other fundraising tasks.

Spread the Word

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Use your network to spread the word to help us make our goal.

Donate

 

Please consider giving towards our fundraising target of $5 Million dollars.

 

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Stay Informed

 

Project Updates

 

Stay informed about the progress of the Kinmon Community Center Restoration Project. We will regularly update this space with news, milestones, and stories from the community.

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