Kinmon Gakuen, or Golden Gate Institute, was established in 1911 as an educational institution for the children of Japanese immigrants who were not allowed to go to the local school in the US. In 1924, the State of California granted its recognition as a legal corporation. Over the years, it has grown to become a venue for Japanese Americans to gather and participate in both cultural activities to enrich their lives and political activities to improve their future generation’s lives.

Today, Kinmon Gakuen is a language school which teaches, not only the language but the culture and tradition of Japan, to anyone that is interested.

Educational Goal

  1. Students embrace the Japanese tradition as well as the history of Kinmon Gakuen, to foster the spirit of respect and appreciation for the forefathers.
  2. By being exposed to Japanese culture, students broaden their global perspective thereby enriching their appreciation and understanding of other cultures.
  3. In addition to learning the Japanese language, the students are given opportunities to observe and practice manners and customs of Japan which incorporate the spirit of selflessness and consideration for others.


In the late 1800s, anti-Japanese movement had been growing in the US. Japanese immigrants and their children were victims of harsh discrimination. Among the most concerning was the refusal of public school admittance to children of Japanese ancestry. The various prejudicial incidents gave rise to different Japanese immigrant groups to organize. In San Francisco, the local Japanese American communities banded together to form an educational organization for their children, leading to the founding of Kinmon Gakuen.

  • May 2, 1910: Core Group of Japanese American Association gathered to establish Japanese educational organization for their children. This was day that Kinmon Gakuen was founded.
  • April 15, 1911: A grand opening ceremony was held. In October, Homei elementary school in San Francisco, operated by Mr. Kaichiro Kihara was merged with Kinmon Gakuen.
  • April 16, 1924: Legal recognition of Kinmon Gakuen/Golden Gate Institute Foundation was granted by the States of California.
  • April 11, 1926: Grand decication of the new school building was held. Kinmon Gakuen foundation commemorative ceremonies were held.
  • May 12, 1931: Prince and Princess Takamatsu no Miya visited and observed classes.
  • September 4, 1933: Prince and Princess Kaya visited and observed classes.
  • October 30, 1935: Merger with Kyowa Gakuen
  • December 7, 1941: Out-break of World War Ⅱ. On January 1942, enemy foreign national general evacuation and confinement started which sent 600 Japanese diplomats to State of Montana and about 117,000 Japanese Americans living in the west coast re-located to two internment camps, resulting in closing of Kinmon Gakuen.
  • January 26, 1948: Once established the bottom floor of 2013 Bush street, next to the land owned by Kinmon Gakuen, as a temporary location. In October, the reopening and start of a new semester. The students are mostly third generation Japans Americans.
  • 1956: The showing of Japanese movies became popular in the Northern California, and Kinmon Gakuen Hall was used during the weekend to present Japanese movie shows.
  • February 23, 1960: Crown Prince and Princess visitation.