Seeking happily ever after in Little Tokyo

FROM LITTLE TOKYO WITH LOVE By Sarah Kuhn (Toronto, Ontario: Viking Books for Young Readers, 2021, 432 pp., $24.99, hard cover) A clever, funny, romp of a story that is “not a fairytale” begins: “Once upon a time, a beautiful princess lived in the magical kingdom of Los Angeles. Always alone, she belonged to no one — and no one belonged to her. She dreamed of one day finding someone who shared her passions, […]

While COVID closes many Little Tokyo businesses, some are surviving

LOS ANGELES — Little Tokyo businesses faced many challenges the past year as COVID-19 forced a number of small establishments to close, but some shops like Mitsuru Sushi & Grill managed to survive, and a few like Bunkado even thrived. Mamoru Hanamure, owner of Mitsuru, revealed that he was stressed during the pandemic because of […]

Suehiro Café receives grant from Preservation Program

LOS ANGELES — Suehiro Café, founded in 1972 in Little Tokyo, is one of 25 small restaurants nationwide that was awarded a special grant earlier this month as part of a collaborative effort of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express through their Backing Historic Small Restaurants program to help those businesses improve, […]

LA police probe fire, vandalism at Japanese Buddhist temple

LOS ANGELES  — Authorities are investigating a vandalism and fire at a Buddhist temple in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles. Surveillance video caught a man jumping the security fences at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple on the night of Feb. 25, smashing a 12-foot-high glass window with a rock, yanking a pair […]

Little Tokyo celebrates completion of community recreation center

LOS ANGELES — A community’s 26-year dream to build a much-needed community gym in the heart of Little Tokyo and downtown Los Angeles has become a reality, as Little Tokyo Service Center completed construction of the Terasaki Budokan. Terasaki Budokan is a two-story, 39,000 square-foot facility located at 249 S. Los Angeles St., between Second […]

Metro Project not as bad as pandemic for Little Tokyo

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Regional Connector construction has been disruptive for residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations in Little Tokyo, but not as disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic, according to three prominent Nikkei who work there. As part of the Regional Connector project, Metro has permanently closed the Gold Line […]

Q-and-A with longtime activist and mentor Alan Nishio

Editor’s Note: This Q-and-A-format interview was originally posted on the Manzanar Committee’s blog prior to the 2020 virtual Manzanar Pilgrimage. https://manzanarcommittee.org/2020/04/25/nishio-q Alan Nishio, who is the keynote speaker for our 2020 Virtual Manzanar Pilgrimage, was awarded the Manzanar Committee’s 2017 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Award for his leadership during the Redress Movement in the 1980s, along […]

Little Tokyo community strategizes ways to stay in business

Businesses in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo typically relied on foot traffic prior to the statewide shelter-in-place orders, which brought the state’s economy to a halt. Amid the shuttered retail spaces, several restaurants continue to operate in the ethnic enclave, but all proprietors have said the situation is difficult. Little Tokyo’s community, however, has tried to […]

FOR THE COMMUNITY: Melody Takata’s three decades of teaching Japanese arts

Melody Takata has been drumming taiko for around four decades, starting in Los Angeles as a high school student with L.A. Matsuri Taiko before moving to Tokyo for a year during college to study with Oedo Sukeroku Taiko. After finishing her studies, she moved to San Francisco to work with artists in Northern California. She […]

Little Tokyo Service Center Executive Director Matsubayashi dies

LOS ANGELES — Little Tokyo Service Center’s Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi passed away the evening of Sept. 4, a letter written by Dick Kaku, the organization’s board president, said. Matsubayashi had battled a brain tumor for almost a year. He passed away “peacefully with his family by his side,” Kaku wrote. Matsubayashi served as executive […]

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