This collection includes organizational documents, correspondence, photographs, and realia from the Santa Monica Nikkei Hall,
an organization that was located in Santa Monica, California. The Hall was constructed in 1957 and served the local Japanese
American (Nikkei) community over a period of 60 years. Some items in this collection have been digitized and are available
The Santa Monica Nikkei Hall was constructed in 1957 and served the local Japanese American (Nikkei) community over a period
of 60 years. During the earlier years, Katsuzo Matsumura began holding Japanese language classes in his living room in 1924.
As attendance grew, a school (Gakuen) was constructed, which also served as a community center. With the forced removal and
incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Gakuen was used as a military training headquarters. Following
the war, returning Nikkei informally gathered and socialized in community members' homes, supporting each other in rebuilding
their post-war lives and unifying the Nikkei community. In 1951, Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants to North America)
community leaders formed the Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, Inc. and began raising funds to either repair the Gakuen or construct
a new hall. With the Gakuen in a state of disrepair, it was decided to build a new community center. The one-story Hall was
designed by Y. Tom Makino and completed in 1957. Over time, usage of the Hall declined and by 2000, the center was primarily
utilized by senior citizens. In 2017, the Hall was sold with sale proceeds donated to local community and religious organizations.
The following year in 2018, the Hall was designated a landmark by the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission and is listed as the
"Santa Monica Nikkei Kai (Social Hall)". The Hall's historic significance is summarized among the reports to the Landmark
Commission, "As the community center for Santa Monica's Japanese community established upon resettlement after World War II,
the building is of noteworthy interest to the community, and symbolizes elements of the cultural and social history of the
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Gerth
Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Gerth Archives and Special Collections
as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained.