Nihon Go Gakko

Also known as: Japanese Language School
1715 S. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma, Washington

Lost 1920s era Japanese Language School



Tacoma's Nihon Go Gakko was the second of over four dozen Japanese Language Schools constructed by Japanese immigrant communities in the Pacific states of Washington, Oregon, and California. Currently only the school buildings in Tacoma and Seattle remain. Built in 1922 by issei, the first generation Japanese immigrants, the Tacoma school provided formal education in Japanese language, cultural traditions, and supplementary English classes for the nisei, the American-born, second generation. For nearly thirty years the Nihon Go Gakko facility also served as a daycare and community center for Tacoma's Japanese-American. As a school it was closely associated with community leaders, Kuni and Masato Yamasaki, teachers who had directed the school beginning in 1911. In the spring of 1942 the Japanese Language School was selected to serve as an official "Civil Control Center" for the registration, and subsequent forced evacuation of Japanese-Americans living in Tacoma. After World War II the school briefly served as a center and hostel for members of the community who returned to the city. As the only remaining secular Japanese-American community center in Tacoma it is a reminder of what was once a vibrant Japantown, and a poignant symbol of the Japanese immigrant's struggle for education, recognition, and assimilation into American society. -- Historic American Buildings Survey

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 30, 1984
Reference number
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Asian; Education; Politics/Government; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant years
ca. 1922; 1927

Update Log 

  • September 2, 2010: Updated by K. A. Erickson: Landmark has been demolished - 2004