Fisherman's Wharf Monterey



“Japanese American Heritage Days” Event to be held on May 3rd and 4th, 2014 at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf

“Japanese American Heritage Days” Event to be held on May 3rd and 4th, 2014 at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf

April 2014. Monterey, CA. Save the date for a fascinating and fun event for the whole family. Japanese American Heritage Days will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf, 1 Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940. The event is co-sponsored by Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf Association and the Japanese American Citizens League of the Monterey Peninsula.

Some of the interactive and educational activities during this special weekend will include outstanding presentations by local historians, Sandy Lydon and Tim Thomas, a photo exhibit of the Japanese fishermen in Monterey in the Wharf Theatre, an abalone cooking demonstration by Chef Bruce Brown of CSUMB, origami demonstrations, ikebana and bonsai demonstrations, Gyotaku (Japanese stencil fish printing), Kendo martial arts demonstrations, Taiko drums by Shinsho-Mugen Daiko, Christine Hart and Robert McNamara, karaoke and other live musical performances including Christine Hart, historic walking tours, a “Pop” Ernest photo op, an abalone song competition*, an abalone helmet diving demonstration, abalone races, a tea ceremony, and much more. Wharf restaurants will be serving small bites of a variety of delicious Japanese dishes and sweet treats. Crabby Jim's will have Tempura Prawns, Liberty Fish will offer shrimp fried rice and Crab Louie's will serve Auktobout, among other small bite offerings.

Ozeki Sake will provide a sake cask for a traditional Japanese ceremonial "opening."  Whale watching and sport fishing trips will also be available at the Wharf.  On Sunday, May 4th, there will be a reception and sunset cruise on benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society aboard Princess Monterey Whale Watching’s Greatland boat.

A highlight of the event will be the presentation of a beautifully hand-crafted and painted traditional-style Japanese Maiwai Jacket during a traditional presentation ceremony. At 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 3rd, a special and colorful procession with dignitaries, lion dancers, and musicians will begin at the Wharf and continue to the Japanese American Citizens League Hall located at 424 Adams Street in Monterey, followed by a special reception which will be sponsored by the JACL Heritage group.

Monterey's “Sister City” is Nanao, Japan. The Monterey-Nanao relationship dates back to 1986, when a group from Nanao first visited Monterey to study the city’s economic drivers. Like Monterey, Nanao is a coastal community that repositioned itself as a tourist destination after its fishing industry diminished. Several delegations visited California in the following years, and local Rotary clubs and non-profit organizations are involved in hosting and leading presentations. Some of the Junior Wings, past and present youth who visited Japan, will also be on hand at Japanese Heritage Days in costume.

The Japanese American Citizens League of the Monterey Peninsula (JACL) was formed in 1932. This organization grew out of a community group that helped the Issei (first generation) community with the English language, and provided immigration, tax and contract information. JACL owns a building at 424 Adams Street which is used as an Asian Cultural Center. The JACL has been a driving force in the community for over 80 years, sponsoring sports and educational activities, health care and social programs, and addressing civil liberties and civil rights. The JACL sponsors a Japanese language school and hosts other groups for Chinese Language study, music, traditional Japanese dance and martial arts.

Prior to World War II, the Japanese had a dominating presence on Fisherman’s Wharf, as a majority of the businesses were owned or operated by Japanese.  At the beginning of World War II, 119,000 people of Japanese heritage who lived on the Pacific coast of the United States were forcibly removed from their homes and livelihoods and incarcerated in internment camps and federal detention facilities for the duration of the war thus ending Japanese presence on the wharf. The U.S. government authorized the internment by issuing Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, shortly after Imperial Japan's attack at Pearl Harbor.

After the war, many Japanese Americans returned to the Monterey Peninsula, encouraged by a welcome-back petition signed by approximately 1,000 local notables including John Steinbeck and Edward "Doc" Ricketts. These petitions were recently discovered amongst documents housed in the JACL Heritage Museum by Tim Thomas, local archivist and historian.  Faced by the disappearance of the sardines (they run in cycles every 60 years approximately), the returning Japanese Americans ventured into other fisheries, pursued entry-level jobs such as gardening, re-started or opened retail businesses, gained employment with municipal agencies, and established a presence in the medical professions.  In 1988, after a ten year campaign by JACL, the U.S. Government acknowledged its error and apologized for violating the Constitution by imprisoning its citizens without due process.

An entrepreneur and restaurateur at the turn of the last century, “Pop” Ernest Doelter, also known as the “Abalone King”, was renowned as owning the first restaurant that served abalone on the Monterey Peninsula. He developed his abalone recipe around 1908 at his first Monterey restaurant on Alvarado Street that flourished between 1919-1952.  At an important period in Monterey history, “Pop” Ernest turned abalone into an American delicacy, discovering its many uses and creating an entire industry around the food. For his "Abalone and Seafood Restaurant," he also enlisted two well-known local artists, Jo Mora and Armin Hansen, who created his attractive menus.

For more information, please call Bob Massaro at (831) 649-6544 or email Bob at or call Wendy Brickman at (831) 633-4444 or email


Enter this fun contest! Complete and add a new verse to The Abalone Song! Win a free copy of the new book about Pop Ernest by Fisheries Historian Tim Thomas!   Send entry to by Friday, May 2nd.

*The Abalone Song

Oh! Some folks boast of quail and toast,

Because they think it’s tony;

But I’m content to owe my rent

And live on abalone.

Oh! Mission Point’s a friendly joint,

Where every crab’s a crony;

And true and kind you’ll ever find

The clinging abalone.

He wanders free beside the sea

Where’er the coast is stony;

He flaps his wings and madly sings —

The plaintive abalone.

By Carmel Bay, the people say

We feed the lazzaroni

On Boston beans and fresh sardines

And toothsome abalone.

Some live on hope, some live on dope,

And some on alimony;

But my tom-cat, he lives on fat

And tender abalone.

Oh! Some drink rain, and some champagne,

Or brandy by the pony;

But I will try a little rye

With a dash of abalone.

Oh! Some like jam, and some like ham,

And some like macaroni;

But bring to me a pail of gin

And a tub of abalone.

He hides in caves beneath the waves,

His ancient patrimony;

And so ‘tis shown that faith alone

Reveals the abalone.

The more we take, the more they make

In deep sea matrimony;

Race suicide cannot betide

The fertile abalone.

I telegraph my better half

By Morse or by Marconi;

But if the need arise for speed,

I send an Abalone.

Oh, some folks think the Lord is fat,

Some think that He is bony;

But as for me, I think that He

Is like an abalone.




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