SAN FRANCISCO — The following statement, signed by more than 200 individuals, was issued on Sept. 10 by the San Francisco Japantown community regarding the city’s plans to purchase the Hotel Buchanan, untll recently a tourist hotel, for use as housing for the homeless.

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This statement is a demand that the Hotel Buchanan be removed from further consideration of city acquisition. 

Many have tried to paint this as a Japantown vs. the unhoused issue, or just another not-in-my-backyard reaction. It is an age-old tactic to pit vulnerable communities against one another. We will not be used.

San Franciscans pride themselves as being more politically informed and enlightened. We ask that you look deeper at the issues. This opposition is from a community and a people that have suffered the loss of liberty, including the loss of homes, churches, and businesses multiple times over many generations at the hands of the government. Further, this community has also experienced decades of anti-Asian racism. 

This is a historic cultural district that has sacrificed more than anyplace in the city for the so-called public good vs. a rushed process that has ignored racial equity.

Several of the historical and racial inequities faced by Japantown have finally been documented as findings in the ordinance that created the Office of Racial Equity in 2019. Amongst them is the finding that the San Francisco Police Department helped the FBI sweep Japanese American homes in 1942, and then assisted with the incarceration of Japanese Americans into concentration camps during World War II.

It has also been documented that the S.F. Redevelopment Agency used red-lining and unjustifiable urban renewal plans to physically remove communities of color from the Fillmore and Western Addition. The Japanese American residential population in Japantown has declined by over 80% as a direct result, and the Western Addition communities have never recovered from the devastation.

Now a reduced community, relegated to rely on visitor dollars for economic survival, is told that a hotel that brings in revenue and hotel tax dollars that are reinvested in our community must be taken away. We do not put tourists above the unhoused. But we have built this community from nothing against all odds, and that hotel is part of the lifeblood of Japantown, supports our small businesses and restaurants, and employs many local workers.

From the onset, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) has not exhibited any cultural sensitivity or historical knowledge of the suffering and sacrifices that Japantown has endured. We do not see a commitment to social and racial equity. This action is reminiscent of the mentality that government entities know what is best for our community and use their power to impose it. 

HSH uses the tag line “Compassion, Courage, & Common Sense.” Take those words seriously and have compassion for generations that have suffered in Japantown, use courage to be guided by racial equity, and exercise common sense to work with the community in supporting alternative sites.

We demand that the Hotel Buchanan be removed from further consideration.

(As 9/15/21)

Keith and Sawako Akama, Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF)

Judy and Nosuke Akiyama, Japantown residents

Gorge Alonzo, Yuji Dojo

Kateryna Androshchuk, Yuji Dojo

Sabina Antonova, NLF

Eiko Aoki, S.F. native, incarcerated at Topaz concentration camp during WWII

Rev. Gary Barbaree, Japanese American Religious Federation

Paolo and Thaomy Beltran, NLF

Masae Matsumoto Beresford, Festa Wine and Cocktail Lounge business owner

Sebastian Bourret, Yuji Dojo

Shina and Patrick Bray, NLF

Jim Brownell, business property wwner

Weida Chan, SaSa Japanese Restaurant business owner

Chris Chin, Matcha Café Maiko business owner

Rodney Chin, Buchanan YMCA

Anthony and Flora Chung, NLF

Todd Eshima and Shellin Young, NLF

Anthony and Marian Figlietti, NLF

Marjorie Imaizumi Fletcher, incarcerated at Santa Anita Assembly Center during WWII

Kei Fujimura, community member

Sachiko Gee, ChaTo business owner

Kirk Grogan, NLF

Judy Hamaguchi, S.F. Chapter, Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Richard Hashimoto, Japantown Merchants Association

Grace Horikiri, Nihonmachi Street Fair

Satoru and Carolyn Hosoda, business property owners

Robert W. Hsu, Tokaido Arts business owner

Shuji and Melissa Igushi, NLF

Koji and Stephanie Ikeda, NLF

Mickey Imura, Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction (CANE), 1973-79

Cathy Inamasu, NLF

Michel and Mary Innes, NLF

David Inoue, JACL

David Ishida, community member

Steve Ishii, Kimochi, Inc.

Mary Erikson-Ishisaki, business property owner

Ann and Michael Iurato, NLF

Stephen Jordan and Mariko Sawada, Sakura Sakura business owners

Makiko Kambayashi, community member

Alice Kawahatsu, Japantown resident

Kumi Kawashiri, Soto Mission of San Francisco

Mitsuko Kawashiri, S.F. native incarcerated at Topaz concentration camp during WWII

Jeong and Yun Sun Keum, NLF

Gary Kitahata, Buddhist Church of San Francisco (BCSF)

Gayle Kojimoto, community member

Donna Kotake, CANE, 1973-79

Kyle Kurahara, NLF

Rev. Koshi Kurotaki, Soto Mission of San Francisco

Alisa, Samantha and Mariye Kume, NLF

Yoshiko and Toshikazu Kume, NLF

Kana Kusumoto, NLF

Osaji Kusumoto, community member

Sumiko Kusumoto, Tan Tan Café business owner

Zak and Rieko Lance, NLF

Cecily Ina-Lee, Rosa Parks School

Curtis Lowe, NLF

Max Malloy, NLF

Lori Matoba and Jeff Wun, Japantown residents

Diane Matsuda, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach

Mari Matsumoto, NLF

Steve and Audrey Matsumoto, NLF

Jeffery Matsuoka, BCSF

Karl Matsushita, Japanese American National Library

Joelle Matsuura, NLF

Ryan Matsuura, NLF

Thuy McGrane, NLF

Sherry Ming and Amy Tang, NLF

Bryant Miur, Japantown resident

Wendell and Naomi Miura, Japantown residents

Yasuaki Miura, Super Mira business owner

Lisa Mizuiri, NLF

Dawn Mokuau, NLF

Jamie and Kelly Monroy, NLF

James D. Moore, NLF

Keiko Moore, NLF

Megumi Moore, NLF

Ai Mori and Dale Minami, community members

Takeshi Moro and Lisa Mizuiri, NLF

Makiko Murakoshi, NLF

Tiffany Muraoka, NLF

Emily Murase, S.F. Chapter, JACL

Kaz Naganuma, community member

Arly Nagase, Japantown resident

Glynis Nakahara, Japantown Taskforce

Steve Nakajo, Japantown Taskforce

Remi Nakamoto, Rosa Parks School

Joyce Nakamura, CANE, 1973-79

Jade V. Nelson, NLF

Maiko Nestler, Glam Up business owner

Shuichi Niihara and Yumi Tsukumi, Belly Good Café business owners

John Oda, CANE,1973-79

Joyce Oishi, NLF
Rumi and Mitsufumi Okabe, business property owners

Allen Okamoto, business property owner

Bobby Okamura and Ricky Okamura, Benkyo-Do business owners

Michael Omine, NLF

Mieko Omine, NLF

Akiko Ono and Adam Greenspan, NLF

Michinori Ono-Nepenji, Japan Center Beauty Clinic business owner

Teresa Ono, BCSF

Jon Osaki, Japanese Community Youth Council

Paul Osaki, Japantown resident

Akiyoshi and Kayo Oshima, NLF

Noriyuki, Hideaki and Chinami Oshima, NLF

Jennie Ottinger, NLF

Gordon Park-Li, Sei Ko Kai

Erik and Jill Pascual, NLF

Augie Phillips, NLF

Jane Pitiyanuvath, NLF

Brandon Quan, Japantown Community Benefit District

Kristine Qiu, NLF

James and Irene Robinson, NLF

Jessica and Nathan Romero, NLF

Robert Sakai, business property owner

Asakichi Sakakihara, Asakichi business owner

Susan Sakuma, BCSF

Korby Satow, NLF

Eric Schoenman, NLF

Sam and Hiroko Schreiber, NLF

Sahra Sellers, NLF

Jon Lin and Xinshu She, NLF

Michiko Shibata, Japantown resident

Kaori Shida and Patrick Halloran, NLF

Mika Shimizu and TH Kong, NLF

Brian Shimomura, S.F. Chapter, JACL

Vlad Smirnov, Yuji Dojo

Patrick Szeto, Webster Tower business owner

Kenta Takamori, community member

David Takashima, S.F. Chapter, JACL

Kiyomi Takeda, community member

Kyoko Tamaki, Japantown resident

Hubert Tang and Theresa Chang, NLF

Jenny Tang and Jonathan Tse, NLF

Amenjal and Anar Tlyekhan, NLF

Michiko Toki and David Darling, Japantown residents

Rev. Joanne Tolosa, Konko Church of S.F.

Ros Tonai, National Japanese American Historical Society

Dean Ito Taylor, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach

Cynthia Tsuchimoto, NLF

Yuji Uchida, NLF

Tara Umemoto, Berkeley Chapter, JACL

Patty Wada, Northern California Region, JACL

Richard Wada, community member

Matthew Webb, NLF

Jared and Keiko Wilson, NLF

Kanako Wong, NLF

Mie and Dav Yaginuma, NLF

Yasunari George Yamada, business property owner

Melody Yamaguchi, NLF

Mikihiro and Aiko Yasuda, NLF

Emi Yokomizo and Kevin Toda, community members

Maya Yoshikawa, NLF

Father Paul Zirimenya, Japanese Catholic Society at St. Benedict Parish for the Deaf at St. Francis Xavier Church

Organizations listed for identification purposes only

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  1. The State of California values are about social inclusion , diversity and tolerance .
    and the decision of M. London Breed is politically correct .

  2. Homeless and refugees welcome to The Buchanan Hotel in San Francisco . Inclusion , compassion and diversity are the values of the state of California . And Congratulations Gov . Newsom !