Preserving the memory of Lakeview’s Japanese community

Preserving the memory of Lakeview’s Japanese community

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Before World War II, Chicago’s ethnic Japanese population numbered roughly four hundred. By 1945 there were twenty-thousand. That’s according to Erik Matsunaga, a local writer trying to preserve stories of Chicago’s Japanese community. At one point in Chicago there were Japanese American Boy Scouts at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago in Uptown, Japanese American bowling leagues, Star Market and the Toguri Mercantile Exchange. Erik is the co-founder of the website Nikkei Chicago, a site that tells the stories of Japanese-Americans in Chicago. He joins us along with Fred Sasaki, a Chicago writer and whose family owns one of the oldest Japanese-American businesses in the city, Barry Regent Dry Cleaners.