Toyo Miyatake relief dedication held in LA

TO TOYO — (from left:) Alan Miyatake; Rick Westberg and Bill Witte of Related Companies; Archie Miyatake; Gary Miyatake; and Bill Watanabe of the Little Tokyo Historical Society, pose in front of the Toyo Miyatake Relief in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. photo by Victor Lazo

LOS ANGELES — The Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) commemorated the installation of a full-size bronze relief and a street dedication to Toyo Miyatake at the Sakura Crossing apartments on San Pedro Street between Second and Third streets on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

The event included members of the Miyatake family, representatives of Related Companies (which built the building and installed the relief), Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, representatives from Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry’s office and state Assemblymember Steven Bradford’s office, as well as friends of the Miyatakes and community members.

The street sign marking Toyo Miyatake Way. photo by Victor Lazo

Toyo Miyatake was a noted photographer based in Little Tokyo who gained fame through his on-the-spot photographs of the Manzanar, Calif. concentration camp during World War II. His photographs — many of which were forbidden by the authorities at the time — helped to document these experiences.

He opened a successful photography and portrait studio in Little Tokyo in 1923 and reopened it again after World War II. It remains in operation today in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley.

The relief and street dedication commemorates his work as a skilled photographer who captured not only the community on film, but the historically significant camp life at Manzanar.

“The photographic art and works of Toyo Miyatake will live on, and this monument dedicated to Toyo will continue to have significance as well,” said Bill Watanabe, LTHS president.

Related Companies funded the relief and street dedication.

For more information, contact Bill Watanabe at (213) 473-1607 or bwatanabe@ltsc.org.

The Miyatake family. photo by Victor Lazo

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