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 […]

Little Tokyo supporters wary of rail construction, gentrification

LOS ANGELES — The Metro Regional Connector rail line, slated to run through Little Tokyo upon completion in 2021, has raised concerns among people who care about the ethnic Japanese enclave’s survival and want to protect the 134-year-old neighborhood from the negative effects of gentrification. Metro’s project, now under construction, will bring three new underground […]

Investment fund to preserve Little Tokyo revealed

LOS ANGELES — In an effort to help preserve Little Tokyo, local activists announced the creation of the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund, which seeks individual, corporate and foundation support to invest funds in real estate purchases that provide much-needed rent control for legacy and community-related businesses in Little Tokyo while offering reasonable but below-market […]

Little Tokyo senbei and arare maker Umeya closes business

LOS ANGELES — There will be no more senbei and arare from Umeya. The longtime manufacturer and distributor of Japanese rice cakes and cookies closed down its operations on Dec. 31, 2017. Umeya was founded in Los Angeles by Yasuo Hamano, who was born in 1902 and immigrated to the United States in 1918 from […]

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