‘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 […]

Lauren Naomi Iwata crowned Nisei Week Queen

LOS ANGELES — Lauren Naomi Iwata was crowned the 2013 Nisei Week Queen Aug. 10, during the Nisei Week Festival’s coronation event at the Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo. The 2012 Nisei Week Queen Emily Michi Iijima Folick passed on her reign to Iwata, who is the daughter of Clyde and Fern Iwata of […]

JACCC appoints new president and CEO

LOS ANGELES — The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s board of directors announced the appointment of Leslie A. Ito as its new president and chief executive officer. She will begin her tenure on March 4. Ito has “built her entire career focused on serving the community and making arts and culture accessible to multi-generational […]

New JANM exec expands focus to attract younger generations

LOS ANGELES — Symbolizing the evolution of Japanese America is Dr. G.W. (Greg) Kimura, a Yonsei (fourth generation Japanese American) of mixed race, who will soon observe his one-year anniversary as chief executive officer at the Japanese American National Museum. The fourth-generation Alaskan took over on Jan. 20, 2012 from Dr. Akemi Kikumura Yano, who […]

LITTLE TOKYO SERVICE CENTER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FOUNDER RETIRES Bill Watanabe leaves after 32 years at the helm of the multi-purpose social welfare agency

LOS ANGELES — Bill Yoshiyuki Watanabe, founder and executive director of the Little Tokyo Service Center for the past 32 years, reflected on his career at LTSC on June 15, his last day at the office. “The feeling is kind of bittersweet, part of it is sad,” Watanabe said. “I kinda feel it today especially, […]

Watanabe receives Kunsho award

LOS ANGELES — Bill Watanabe, founder and executive director of Little Tokyo Service Center, was awarded the Japanese government’s Kunsho (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays) on May 18, at the Japanese consul general’s official residence in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park District. Family members and friends of the honoree, and staff members […]

Little Tokyo leaders retire: Nonprofits see rash of leadership changes

LOS ANGELES — Four prominent Little Tokyo nonprofit organizations — Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) — have experienced leadership changes this past year. Bill Watanabe, founder and executive director of LTSC for the past 31 years, […]

Little Tokyo in a nutshell

LOS ANGELES’S LITTLE TOKYO. LITTLE TOKYO HISTORICAL SOCIETY By Arcadia Publishing (Charleston, South Carolina: 2010, 127 pp., $21.99, paperback) Arcadia Publishing has captured a niche market publishing ethnic, local, and/or special interest subjects that major publishing houses would routinely turn down. Over the last 10 years, Arcadia has published and brought to light literally hundreds, […]

Kyplex Cloud Security Seal - Click for Verification