The History of the Sister City Program

The Sister City movement began in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower challenged the American people to develop international relationships at the local level. President Eisenhower’s intention was to involve individuals and organized groups at all levels of society in citizen diplomacy, with the hope that personal relationships, fostered through sister city, county and state affiliations, would lessen the chance of future world conflicts.


On November 8, 1962, L. Pete Jensen and Takejiro Ukiya, mayors of the cities of Gardena and Ichikawa respectively, proclaimed the two as “Sister Cities”. The affiliation took place in Ichikawa, which is a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. On July 31, 1963, articles of incorporation were filed.

Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan is known as an upper and middle class residential district sitting along the Edo River with a population of more than 450,000. Ichikawa is one of the major cities in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.

Click here to visit Ichikawa’s website.


The City of Huatabampo, Sonora, Mexico was established as an official sister city of Gardena by resolution of the City Council on October 9, 1973. Honorable May Manuel Castro Tellez adopted a mutual resolution on January 11, 1974.

Located on the east shore of the Gulf of California, with a population of more than 76,000, Huatabampo’s agricultural beginnings evolved into a major food processing center. Click here for additional information about Huatabampo.

Donation of fire truck to Huatabampo
Monday, January 12, 2001

Street dedication held on
Monday, July 14, 2004