Dragons-Rice Bowl

Rice Bowl

Chinatown is a welcoming place, full of vibrancy and life.

Photo promoting the Rice Bowl Party in San Francisco, 1940 (San Francisco Public Library).

The original title for CITY OF DRAGONS was “Rice Bowl”—an apt metaphor for the ethnic and cultural tensions that permeate the book.

The Rice Bowl Party was an event that began with the Sino-Japanese War and ended with the United State’s entry into World War II. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria galvanized Chinese-American organizations to both raise money for the home country and alert the public to boycott Japanese goods.  After the holocaust that was Nanking, efforts redoubled.

Below you’ll find some memories from the era of the Chinese nightclub, the fabled telephone exchange  … and the Rice Bowl Party.

The Boycott

Images of Chinatown

A view from a bit later than CITY OF DRAGONS (1945), but a stunning vision of Chinatown at night. The Eastern Bakery sign on the right is still in use today. From the National Archives.

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The War with Japan

Sinking of the U.S.S. Panay

In December, 1937, an American ship was sunk by the Japanese as it patrolled the Yangtze River, helping Americans escape the besieged Nanking. The incident is mentioned in CITY OF DRAGONS.

Souvenir of Chinatown … from 1937