s o k o
- 「 桑港・そうこう・sōkō 」the name of San Francisco used by Issei, or first-generation Japanese immigrants, who settled on Ohlone-Ramaytush land* during the mid-to-late 19th century. The name Soko is based on the Chinese characters “桑港”, which are romanized as sōkō (soukou). It is said that the first Chinese settlers to come to San Francisco used the written Chinese characters of “桑方西斯哥” (sāngfāngxīsīgē) to phonetically express the English sound of "San Francisco". When the Japanese arrived shortly after the Chinese, Japanese immigrants began calling San Francisco "sōkō" (桑港), a shortened form of "sāngfāngxīsīgē" (桑方西斯哥).
- literal: mulberry (桑) port (港)
- the name of your new favorite community threads brand.
What is SokoSF?
Soko is a lifestyle brand and creative incubator celebrating the resilient, diverse community of San Francisco’s Japantown - past, present and future. Through our mindfully-crafted threads to our collaborative events showcasing local movers, shakers and culture-creators, we aspire to stir conversation, incite community mobilization and civic engagement while continuing to cultivate a thriving J-Town for generations to come.
Who are we?
Soko was founded by siblings Mari, Eryn and Ryan Kimura, 5th Generation San Franciscans with roots in the Japantown community. The three siblings have been apart of a number of community organizations such as JCYC, JCCCNC, SF Taiko Dojo, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, NihonmachiRoots, New Generation Nikkei Fund, and they are now raising their own children within J-Town - the fiery, sassy sparks for this brand!
Just like the previous generations' hopes, all three siblings want to maintain this thriving community where their kids and the youth can explore, celebrate and further articulate their culture, identity and roots.
So why a lifestyle/clothing brand?
Ryan had the dream, Eryn is the artist, and Mari is the string that keeps both balloons, her brother and sister, grounded. They wanted community-crafted threads for their kids to wear as a reminder of the stories and histories that laid the foundation for them to chase their dreams.