Letter: Stirring up controversy in San Francisco’s tea garden

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Regarding Larry Davis’ suggestion (“A neighbourhood name change that might catch on”, Letters, FT Weekend, March 26) that his San Francisco Russian Hill neighbourhood name should be changed to “Ukrainian Hill”, we’ve been here before.

San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden, in Golden Gate Park, conceived in 1894 from a World’s Fair exhibit, was developed into an authentic Japanese-style garden by Makoto Hagiwara and his family.

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Hagiwara family, along with other Japanese-Americans on the west coast, were interned, and locals informally referred to the garden as the “Chinese Tea Garden”. After the Communists took over China in 1949, the garden came to be known as the “Oriental Tea Garden”. In 1952, its original name was officially restored.

Cynthia Miyashita
San Francisco, CA, US

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