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 […]

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 […]

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