Also known as: H.T. Kubota Building
As the Japanese immigrant population began to swell on the American mainland from 2,039 in 1890 to 72,157 in 1910, so did resentment and racial prejudice from White America, which saw the Japanese as economic competition. The U.S. and Japanese governments entered into the Gentlemen’s Agreement in 1908; Japan agreed to halt the immigration of its laborers. In the Ladies’ Agreement with the U.S. government in 1921, Japan ended the immigration of “picture brides.”
Despite exclusionary immigration laws that limited the growth of families, some Japanese American children still grew up in Japantown. This two-room school building (annex to the original 1873 Main Street School) was opened in 1902 and served as Seattle’s first place to teach kindergarten children. The school especially served second generation Japanese and Chinese American children from Japantown and nearby Chinatown.
Its most notable event is associated with the school’s closing. Too small for a growing population, students – led by Principal Ada Mahon – lined up outside on a rainy day on December 21, 1921 to parade up Jackson Street to their new elementary school, Bailey Gatzert, then located up the hill at 12th and Weller.