The Nippon Kan (Japanese Hall) Theatre originally opened in 1909 as a community and theater space below the Astor Hotel in Seattle’s International District. The Nippon Kan Theatre was closed through World War II during the internment of Japanese Americans. The theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and reopened to the public in 1981 after a renovation led by Seattle architect Edward Burke. Many different performances and community gatherings took place at the Nippon Kan, but it remained especially significant to Seattle’s Asian and Pacific Islander community and other BIPOC communities because of the opportunities it made possible for them. In 2005, the Nippon Kan was closed when the building was sold as office space to ABC Legal Services.

  • Primary Form of Entity: For Profit, Nonprofit
  • Primary Artistic Discipline: Folk/Traditional/Heritage arts, Theatre, Music, Dance
  • Primary Areas of Activity: Venue/Facility, Arts in Community Development


Case Studies


The Nippon Kan Theatre: When Cultural Facilities Have a Second Chance, Stefanie M. Fatooh