JAMsj E-News
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
September 2012
In This Issue
Common Ground Exhibition Grand Opening
Moving Days Exhibit
Chinatown, San Jose, USA Book Talk
San Jose Taiko Drummers
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Calendar of Events
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Common Ground Exhibit
The  new JAMsj exhibit, Common Ground, will be unveiled on September 22, 2012 


Anti-Chinese riot in Denver, 1880
Anti-Chinese riot in Denver, 1880. Library of Congress.
Heinlenville excavation
Connie Young Yu at the Heinlenville excavation site

Read more about Heinlenville:
JAMsj volunteers
Consider becoming a JAMsj volunteer by checking out our volunteer opportunities.

Common Ground Exhibition
Grand Opening

Common Ground Exhibition
Grand Opening

September 22, 2012
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 


Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112 



On September 22, JAMsj guest curators, Connie Young Yu and Leslie Masunaga, will unveil a new exhibit that focuses on a community called Heinlenville, the last Chinese settlement in San Jose. This exhibit, called Common Ground, will bring to light the historical context of the formation of Heinlenville as well as the subsequent interplay between the Chinese and Japanese communities. 


Heinlenville was born in the midst of rampant anti-Chinese sentiment and racist terrorism. Fearing the violence and property destruction that hit other Chinatowns, John Heinlen (the businessman founder of Heinlenville) built a high fence topped with barbed wire around the town to protect the residents and businesses. "No ruffians on horseback were liable to ride down the main street and drag Chinese by the queues as they once had in the past," Yu wrote in her seminal book, Chinatown, San Jose, USA. 

Several years after the enactment of the  Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese laborers came to San Jose and settled near the area of Heinlenville. "The newcomers (the Japanese) inherited the phobia against Yellow Peril, and heated political debate arose again throughout the Pacific Coast over how to exclude a new influx of Asians," Yu said.

Although John Heinlen created a sanctuary for Chinese residents and their businesses during a time of great xenophobic turmoil, not much is documented about John Heinlen's motivations in helping the Chinese. In an effort to unveil his motivations, Yu wrote in the preface to her book, "The person that changed the destiny of the early Chinese community in San Jose left no other legacy than the memory of a Chinatown, once upon a  time, called Heinlenville. Considering its colorful history and the good people who lived in it and loved it well, perhaps that alone shall suffice." 


The exhibit grand opening event will include a talk by Common Ground exhibit guest curators Yu and Masunaga. Although the event is free with museum admission, space is limited for the discussion and a reservation is required. If you wish to attend the talk, please contact  events@jamsj.org or call the JAMsj office at (408) 294-3138 to reserve your space.


Moving Days:  The Japanese American Experience

Moving Days: The Japanese American
Experience in the Santa Clara Valley

September 30, 2012 - December 31, 2012 

Cupertino Library
10800 Torre Avenue 
Cupertino, CA  95014


A new exhibit, Moving Days: The Japanese American Experience in the Santa Clara Valley, will be featured at the Cupertino Library starting on September 30, 2012. The exhibit, which runs through December 31, 2012, will also be accompanied by an exhibit opening reception and a panel discussion, Local Japanese Americans Remember World War II, on September 30 and a panel discussion, Civil Liberties and the Japanese American Experience, on November 18.
JAMsj provided several of the artifacts for the Moving Days: The Japanese American Experience in the Santa Clara Valley exhibit at the Cupertino Library



The exhibit and program series is presented by the Cupertino Library, the Cupertino Library Foundation (CLF), and the Cupertino Historical Society. Community partners for the exhibit and program are JAMsj and the California History Center at De Anza College.


"We are very grateful to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose for its generosity.  The museum has provided the Santa Clara Valley History Collaborative with access to a wealth of historical photographs, artifacts and artwork that poignantly portray many aspects of the lives of Japanese Americans in the Santa Clara Valley over the last 70 years," notes Cupertino Community Librarian, Mark Fink. "We are fortunate to have the opportunity to bring this powerful and thought-provoking exhibit and series of programs to the community. The Cupertino Library Foundation continues to be a catalyst by bringing us all together to share our resources."

JAMsj Book Talk
chinatown usa connie young yu

Chinatown, San Jose, USA  
By Connie Young Yu  

October 6, 2012
1:00 p.m.
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112


Chinatown, San Jose, USA focuses on the Chinese settlement of Heinlenville (located within the boundaries of today's San Jose Japantown). The author draws on family records, correspondence, oral interviews with former residents, and newspaper accounts from 1887 to 1931. The book describes the formation and demise of Heinlenville within the context of Chinese immigration and anti-Chinese legislation that set the stage for discrimination against the Chinese in San Jose and in other cities in California.

Yu, a third-generation Californian, researches and writes extensively on the role and experiences of Chinese-Americans. Much of her work focuses on individuals who both shaped and were shaped by Heinlenville. A few of the colorful characters that have been captured in her stories include the town's founder, John Heinlen, a San Jose businessman and friend of the Chinese community, and Sing Kee, a Heinlenville resident and World War I hero.

The 4th edition of Chinatown, San Jose, USA may be purchased at the JAMsj museum store. Please contact events@jamsj.org or call JAMsj at (408) 294-3138 to reserve your space or if you have any questions about this event.  Regular museum admission fees apply.


San Jose Taiko Drummers

SJ Taiko Sunnyvale Reads Event
Save the Dates!

2012 Winter Boutique

November 10, 2012: Start your holiday shopping at the 2012 JAMsj Winter Boutique

Silver Anniversary Banner

December 1, 2012: Come celebrate JAMsj's 25th anniversary

More details of these events will appear in future editions of the JAMsj E-News.

Calendar of Events

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Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj)
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: (408) 294-3138
Email: mail@jamsj.org