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San Jose Signs Index 

Kogura Gifts
231 Jackson St.
Projecting Box

The Kogura Gifts sign is the oldest historic sign in San Jose’s Japantown. The metal can dates to 1936 but the neon lettering has changed some six times throughout the decades. The Kogura family has been doing business in San Jose since 1928. In 1942, the family, due to wartime concerns about Japanese people, had to pack up and leave. The family attorney J.B. Peckham made arrangements to lease the Kogura property during the family’s absence. The neon “Kogura” was replaced with the words “Trading Post.” During the war, Peckham collected the rent, paid the property taxes, and watched over the Kogura property, as if it were his own. Speaking with Richard Kogura about his family’s sign, the conversation inevitably redirects to Peckham, and others like him, who ensured that Japanese people had homes and businesses to return to after World War II.
--Heather David

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