This article follows the transpacific process of race-making and urban redevelopment in the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center in San Francisco. Japanese Americans carved out spaces for themselves in the Center’s development by mediating between city representatives and Japanese interests and culture. Their role built on their professional skills as well as contemporary racial thinking about Japanese Americans and U.S. expansionism in the Pacific. As the United States sought out connections with a nation understood as particularly alien, Japanese Americans rearticulated contemporary perceptions of their foreignness toward their inclusion. This story helps us better understand how Japanese Americans moved from “alien citizens” through World War II to “success stories” just decades later, as well as some of the connections of the postwar Pacific world.

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