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 […]

Renowned community photographer Archie Miyatake dies

Editor’s Note: The following press release was issued by the Manzanar Committee. LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee expresses its deepest sympathies to the family of former Manzanar incarceree and renowned community photographer Archie Miyatake, 92, who passed away on Dec. 20, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Miyatake family is best known for being the […]

Numerous leadership changes at Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo nonprofits

LOS ANGELES — After a long period of stability, various nonprofit organizations in Little Tokyo have experienced significant leadership changes the past few years. Dean Matsubayashi took over at the Little Tokyo Service Center, Leslie Ito at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and Mitchell Maki at the Go For Broke National Educational Center. […]

Monster hunters descend upon California’s Japantowns with ‘Pokemon Go’

Since the July 6 release of the “Pokemon Go” app for the iOS and Android devices, millions of users have downloaded the game to catch the popular Japanese video game monsters. The game has become a social phenomenon as cnet.com reports users have, on a daily average, spent more time on the app over Facebook […]

The story of the Little Tokyo that could … and will

Diversity in Los Angeles is a core value. The city has residents from more than 140 countries who speak 86 languages. It’s full of diverse ethnic enclaves, including the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Chinatown, Koreatown, Leimert Park, Little Tokyo, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Fairfax’s Jewish-Russian community, and Little Bangladesh — to name only a few. […]

‘Tex’ Nakamura, civil rights advocate who worked with Wayne Collins, dies

Tetsujiro “Tex” Nakamura, a civil rights advocate who became involved in redevelopment issues in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo after World War II and an attorney who worked closely with attorney Wayne Collins on the World War II Japanese American renunciation cases, the Tokyo Rose Iva Toguri d’Aquino case and the Japanese Latin American cases, passed […]

Mikawaya, Little Tokyo manju-ya and creator of mochi ice cream, sold

LOS ANGELES — Mikawaya, the iconic 105-year-old Japanese confectionary maker known for creating the popular Mochi Ice Cream, has been sold to a private equity firm, Century Park Capital Partners. Mikawaya is a multi-million-dollar business that specializes in wagashi (Japanese pastries) and is mainly known for its Mochi Ice Cream, which is sold and distributed […]

Little Tokyo mom-and-pop businesses continue through rough times

LOS ANGELES — A handful of mom-and-pop retail stores in Little Tokyo have survived economic downturns to become almost permanent fixtures, hanging on for anywhere from 68 years to more than a century. In fact, Fugetsu-Do Confectioners has been around since 1903, Mikawaya started in 1910, and Rafu Bussan, S.K. Uyeda Department Store, Bunkado and […]

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