Chang Moo Kwan: The Source

Japanese Fishing Village Memorial

Chang Moo Kwan Events

San Pedro In Photos

Chang Moo Kwan Events

San Pedro In Photos


To Fall Seven
To Rise Eight
Life Begins Today


This is more than just a memorial to a Japanese Fishing Village now gone, but a testimonial to the resilience and ability to rebound of America's Nisei generation...and their ability to forgive, cut loose, move on and prevail.

The story of the post World War II Japanese American re-introduction into a society where they were forcibly removed from a few short years before is as tragic as it is inspirational.  Tragic in all which was lost;  inspirational in what it taught us.  From the Point Vicente Interpretive Center to the Fisherman's Memorial; the South Bay cannot write history without including the Japanese subtle and significant  impact on the area.  They farmed our land and our seas, quietly and respectfully acknowledging the laws of nature, leaving a quiet, honorable footprints for us to follow. 


The more I study the history and culture of San Pedro, the more Japanese names pop up.  Several years ago I found this Memorial to a Japanese Fishing Village purely by accident while shooting photos for my son Ian's junior high history project in which we were focusing on the Terminal Island Harbor.  I saw no signs, what attracted me was a Japanese Tori gate in the middle of seemingly nowhere.  Tori  gates are often associate with Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples.  What a peculiar sight in the middle of the industrial chaos of Terminal Island.  Yet there it was.

Ian and I explored the Memorial, and I was able, for the first time, share with him the plight of the Japanese and their relocation to places like Manzanar after the onset of the great war.   I did not speak to Ian of discrimination, but of misunderstanding gone viral and misdirected collective consciousness.  I was irritated and have been about what happed to the Nisei and Sansei Japanese Americans, but I found myself stopping, and there, several years ago, appreciating what happened in the aftermath. 

I have a Buddhist saying  learned from a Japanese Karate Sensei in the beginning of my martial arts journey in the 1960's:



Jinsei wa kore kara da


To Fall Seven Times

To rise Eight Times

Life Starts From Today


I had misled myself to believe in the melee which corralled all Japanese American into buses and unceremoniously whisked them away from all they knew, love and built, they had lost everything.  I was wrong.  The things the Japanese held most closely went right along with them, they maintained and nurtured it, and they picked up where they left off.   It went beyond forgiveness, it transcended resilience, to this day I am at a loss to put my emotional finger on just what it was.  I know this.  We can speak of America as the land of opportunity, and I believe with all my heart it is; however, opportunity is redefined when you fulfill this opportunity, have it taken away, and then fulfill it again.

I come to the Japanese Fishing Village Memorial for inspiration.  I am reminded that life is ephemeral and sometimes it is war, sometimes it is something else, but everything can be taken away from us in the beat of a heart.  What defines us is not just how far we bounce back, but "how" we bounce back.  I look to the East on this one.  This is a shrine to "rising again," and last time I checked the sun rises in the East. 

Check the Japanese Fisherman's shrine out at dawn sometimes.


All photos and narrative are by Jon Wiedenman, MA Ed
562 234-8633
Get Directions To:
1124 South Seaside Ave.
San Pedro CA 90731