History of the Berkeley-Sakai Association

On March 23, 1967, our sister city association was officially incorporated. The first directors were William Porter, Tad Hirota, Shigero Jio, Harriet Wood, Irene Prescott and Maurice Smith. William Porter was a minister, Tad Hirota's grandaughters went in 2016 on a student exchange to Sakai, and Shigero Jio's grandson Stephen, who lives in Ireland, contacted us to see if we had information about him. We found out that Shigero was born in Japan in 1903, came to Palo Alto as a teen in 1918, studied, was married at age 24, moved to San Francisco, had two children there, and in 1942 was interned in Gila Arizona and separated from his wife and children, who were put in a different camp. In the 1960's he was a travel agent, living in Berkeley and with travel offices in Oakland and San Jose. He passed away at age 87.

The sister cities were part of the “People-To-People Program” started in the Eisenhower administration.

Historical Society Book

For an overview of the history of Japanese people in Berkeley, a good reference is "The Japanese American Experience:  The Berkeley Legacy  1895-1995."

This was written by T. Robert Yamada, who was born in 1925 and passed away on June 23, 2004.  He was a founder of the Berkeley Historical Society and the general manager of Books Unlimited Cooperative.  The book was published by the Berkeley Historical Society in April 1995, and is available for sale there.  See their website at http:\\www.berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org