Japantown los Angeles

Japantown los Angeles

Japantown los Angeles

Welcome to Japantown Los Angeles!In 1905 the area of "Little Tokyo" was described as "bounded by San Pedro, First and Requena streets and Central avenue. The Los Angeles Times added: "It has a population of about 3,500 Japanese, with quite a colony of Jews and Russians and a few Americans. . . . there are 10,000 Japanese in the city who make this section their rendezvous." The Japanese American National Museum is the only U.S. museum dedicated to sharing the experiences of Japanese-Americans and the part they play in U.S. history. Although the museum is not open at this time, it is hosting many virtual events for kids and adults. –> More information


The incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II emptied Little Tokyo. For a brief time, the area became known as Bronzeville as African Americans and also Native Americans and Latinos moved into the vacated properties and opened up nightclubs, restaurants, and other businesses. Beginning in 1942, after the city's Japanese population was rounded up and "evacuated" to inland concentration camps, a large number of African Americans from the South moved to Los Angeles to find work in the labor-starved defense industry. Its share in the Second Great Migration almost tripled Little Tokyo's pre-war population, with some 80,000 new arrivals taking up residence there. Prohibited from buying and renting in most parts of the city by restrictive covenants, the area soon became severely overcrowded. A single bathroom was often shared by up to 40 people and one room could house as many as 16; people frequently shared "hot beds," sleeping in shifts. Poor housing conditions helped spread communicable illnesses like tuberculosis and venereal disease. Crimes like robberies, rapes, and hit-and-run accidents increased, and in May and June 1943 Latino and some African American residents of Bronzeville were attacked by whites in the Zoot Suit race riots. In 1943, officials bowed to pressure from frustrated residents and proposed building temporary housing in nearby Willowbrook, but the majority-white residents of the unincorporated city resisted the plans. In 1944, 57 Bronzeville buildings were condemned as unfit for habitation and 125 ordered repaired or renovated; approximately 50 of the evicted families were sent to the Jordan Downs housing complex. In 1945, many defense industry jobs disappeared and the workers moved elsewhere in search of new employment. Others were pushed out when Japanese Americans began to return and white landlords chose not to renew leases with their wartime tenants.

Land use has been a contentious issue in Little Tokyo due to its history, the proximity to the Los Angeles Civic Center, the role of Los Angeles as a site of business between Japan and America, and the increasing influx of residents into the Arts District. Unlike a traditional ethnic enclave, there are relatively few Japanese residents in the area because of evacuation and internment. The Japanese American community was politicized by the internment and subsequent Redress and Reparations effort. This politicization, along with the global and local growth of overseas Japanese investment, has assured that Little Tokyo has continued to exist as a tourist attraction, community center, and home to Japanese American senior citizens and others. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)


One of the most well-kept secrets in Little Tokyo is the James Irvine Japanese Garden, also known as Seiryu-en, or “Garden of the Clear Stream.” The green space was designed in the Zen tradition with a 170 ft. stream flowing from a waterfall. Stepping stones, cedar bridges, stone lanterns, trees, and foliage underscore the pacifying sound of cascading water. (Closed Mondays and for private events)

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is the cultural and social hub for the community of Little Tokyo. It consists of spaces for events and activities, and is open and available to the public. Once you are at the center, make sure you visit the bottom level of the building to see the James Irvine Japanese Garden. This garden is also known as Seiryu-en or, Garden of the Clear Stream. It gives its visitors a peaceful and zen paradise in which to relax, reflect and spend time with friends and family. The garden is the perfect spot for a stroll away from the hectic city. The cultural and community center also house the Aratani Theater which hosts a few exciting cultural or music events every month. To find out more about the date and time of the events, visit their calendar of events on their website. (Source: theculturetrip.com)



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