Starting in 1890, Issei (first generation) came to the Santa Clara Valley in search of work. In 1900, Japanese Americans established Japantown, a place for them to meet their social, cultural and economic needs in a society hostile to their presence.
535 North Fifth Street
San Jose, California 95112
Phone (408) 294-3138
FAX (408) 294-1657
JAMsj provides speakers who will go to schools or organizations to give first-hand accounts of life in the internment camps and explain how the former incarcerees reestablished themselves after their release. The speakers program only covers grades 8 and higher. For more information, please contact the JAMsj Outreach Coordinator at (408) 294-3138 or please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our Outreach Programs page for information on our speaker program.
JAMsj provides a teacher curriculum guide to educate the public about the WW II incarceration of Japanese Americans and its implications on contemporary issues. This teacher’s resource guide was created by a group of teachers, both active and retired, who have a deep and continuing interest in exploring Japanese American internment and civil liberties issues.
The JAMsj Library includes print and electronic instructional materials that teachers can incorporate into their curriculum to educate students about the Japanese American experience. The history of the World War II forced removal and “internment” followed by the Redress legislation of 1988 can be used to demonstrate that citizens must be ever vigilant in order to protect the principles of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
To download the teacher curriculum guide and for more information, visit the Teacher Curriculum Guide page.
Docent-led Group Tours
Docent-led tours are available to groups upon request. Due to limited resources, priority will be given to middle and high school classes. Lower grade levels may be scheduled pending availability of resources.
Japantown Walking Tours
Did you know that San Jose's Japantown is one of only three Japantowns in the United States? A JAMSJ docent can show you all the historic sites including Issei Memorial Building and the Buddhist Church. For more information or to make a reservation, visit Japantown Walking Tours.
Lasting Stories: The Resettling of San Jose Japantown
Lasting Stories is a digital visual history project that documents the starting or restarting of small businesses in San Jose's Japantown during the resettlement era (1945-1965), when incarcerees returned from camps.
REgenerations Oral History
The REgenerations oral history project is a collaborative effort between the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and museums in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego. It documents the resettlement experiences of Japanese Americans after their release from internment camps at the end of World War II, in their own words.
As part of our ongoing mission to preserve, collect, and disseminate the history of Japanese Americans, particularly in the Santa Clara Valley, members of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) participated in the REgenerations Collaborative Oral History Project (when the REgenerations project was successfully completed in 1997, JAMsj was then referred to as JARC, or the Japanese American Resource Center).
In collaboration with three other museums, we documented the resettlement experiences of Japanese Americans after their incarceration in internment camps--roughly the time period between 1945 and 1965--in four different geographic areas: Chicago, Los Angeles, the Santa Clara Valley, and San Diego. JAMsj was in charge of documenting resettlement in the Santa Clara Valley. Within the span of about 50 years, this valley went from being largely agricultural to being the center of information technology. For demographic reasons like this, the Santa Clara Valley was a particularly interesting region to research.
Through community forums, JAMsj solicited input from the community as to the kind of information we should strive to gather from our interviews. Based on that input, the REgenerations team selected 10 individuals who resettled in the Santa Clara Valley and who, in our opinion, represented a good cross-section of the Japanese American community in this region.
In June of 1997, the REgenerations team completed its final interview of the first phase of this project. To celebrate this accomplishment and to honor our 10 distinguished interviewees, JAMsj threw a party at our new, permanent home at 535 North Fifth Street.
JAMsj hopes to continue documenting Japanese American history in the Santa Clara Valley through oral history. We believe ordinary citizens possess an enormous amount of valuable historical knowledge, not perhaps, from having studied history but from having lived it. If you would like to participate in this or other oral history projects, either as an interviewer, transcriber, videographer, or interviewee, please contact us.