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A Los Angeles;

A Los Angeles;

Japantown Los Angeles

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. The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center is the largest Asian American cultural center in the United States and the heart of the Japanese American community in Los Angeles. Additionally, JACCC offers visitors a peaceful respite from the hubbub of the city with its James Irvine Japanese Garden, also known as Garden of the Clear Stream (apropos, considering a stream cuts through the lush green space). Cedar bridges serve as a dreamy stopping point to admire the flowers and foliage. Once you’ve soaked up some nature, catch a performance from Asian American musicians or maybe Kabuki performers at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre, or improve your culinary skills with a Japanese cooking class or seminar through JACCC’s Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural .Some may consider this restaurant to be a tourist trap, but this famous ramen shop is busy for a reason. Though there are now four Daikokuya locations across Los Angeles, the one in Little Tokyo is the original restaurant and visiting it is considered to be something of a necessary pilgrimage by fanatic noodle heads. Their ramen features a milky tonkotsu broth seasoned with their secret blend of soy sauce, which is accompanied by firm egg noodles, tender kurobuta pork, ajitama (a marinated, soft-boiled egg), bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, and green onions. Waits at Daikokuya can sometimes top an hour (especially on the weekends), so consider checking out Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen, which also serves up toothsome tonkotsu broth. (Source: www.afar.com)

Japanese

It is the largest and most populous of only three official Japantowns in the United States, all of which are in California (the other two are Japantown, San Francisco and Japantown, San Jose). Founded around the beginning of the 20th century, the area, sometimes called Lil' Tokyo, J-Town, 小東京 (Shō-tōkyō), is the cultural center for Japanese Americans in Southern California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995. 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. You might want to book a trip to Little Tokyo around one of the many festivals held there each year. Nisei Week takes place every August and celebrates Japanese culture with a DekoCar show (a parade featuring cars covered in custom anime, manga, or video game graphics), public street dancing, and the World Gyoza Eating Championship (where competitive eaters consume as many gyoza, or Japanese pot stickers, as they can in 10 minutes). Of course, there are also other festivals that also take place in Little Tokyo throughout the year including the Los Angeles International Tea Festival, which usually takes place some time in August, and the L.A. Art Book Fair (one-stop-shop for artbook–centric reads from artists, antiquarian booksellers, small presses, and institutions), which is held in April. (Source: www.afar.com)

Little Tokyo

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. Little Bangladesh, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Koreatown, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Historic Filipinotown—if there’s a culture you want to explore, chances are Los Angeles has a neighborhood for that. One of the city’s most robust ethnic enclaves is Little Tokyo, a district on the northern outskirts of downtown L.A. that dates to the turn of the 20th century. In 1885, Charles Hama, a former seaman from Japan, opened the now-closed Kame Restaurant on East First Street (the first known Japanese-owned business in L.A.). By the early 1900s, the issei (Japanese immigrant) population boomed from just 3,000 residents to 10,000 people, leading to an explosion of Japanese-owned shops and restaurants—several of which are still open today. And so Little Tokyo was born. Some may consider this restaurant to be a tourist trap, but this famous ramen shop is busy for a reason. Though there are now four Daikokuya locations across Los Angeles, the one in Little Tokyo is the original restaurant and visiting it is considered to be something of a necessary pilgrimage by fanatic noodle heads. Their ramen features a milky tonkotsu broth seasoned with their secret blend of soy sauce, which is accompanied by firm egg noodles, tender kurobuta pork, ajitama (a marinated, soft-boiled egg), bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, and green onions. Waits at Daikokuya can sometimes top an hour (especially on the weekends), so consider checking out Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen, which also serves up toothsome tonkotsu broth.Vegan macrobiotic sushi restaurant Shojin has pivoted to a rooftop dine-in-your-car experience every Friday and Saturday. Make a reservation and pre-order your food through the drive-in menu, then pull up to the Little Tokyo Galleria parking lot and head up to the roof where someone will deliver your meal. Time your reservation for sunset for maximum vibes. Alcohol will not be served during this experience. Takeout and in-house delivery are also available Tuesday through Sunday. –> More information (Source: www.welikela.com)

Downtown

What is left of the original Little Tokyo can be found in roughly five large city blocks. It is bounded on the west by Los Angeles Street, on the east by Alameda Street, on the south by 3rd Street, and on the north by First Street, but also includes a substantial portion of the block north of First and west of Alameda, location of the Japanese American National Museum, the Go For Broke Monument, and a row of historic shops which lines the north side of First Street. A timeline has been set into the concrete in front of these shops, using bronze lettering, showing the history of each of the shops from the early 20th Century until the renovation of the district in the late 1980s. More broadly, Little Tokyo is bordered by the Los Angeles River to the east, downtown Los Angeles to the west, L.A. City Hall and the Parker Center to the north. The Weller Court shopping mall is located along Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka St., backing up to 2nd St. on the south and what was originally the New Otani Hotel, now the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown, along Los Angeles Street, to the north and west. It has several restaurants, karaoke clubs, and a Bubble Tea cafe. For tourists visiting from Japan, there are a number of shops specializing in expensive name brand products such as Coach handbags. There is also a large bookstore, Kinokuniya, that is part of a well-known Japanese chain. They have a large selection of Japanese-language books, magazines, music CDs, manga, and anime, as well as a selection of English-language books on Japanese subjects and translated manga and anime.

Little Bangladesh, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Koreatown, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Historic Filipinotown—if there’s a culture you want to explore, chances are Los Angeles has a neighborhood for that. One of the city’s most robust ethnic enclaves is Little Tokyo, a district on the northern outskirts of downtown L.A. that dates to the turn of the 20th century. In 1885, Charles Hama, a former seaman from Japan, opened the now-closed Kame Restaurant on East First Street (the first known Japanese-owned business in L.A.). By the early 1900s, the issei (Japanese immigrant) population boomed from just 3,000 residents to 10,000 people, leading to an explosion of Japanese-owned shops and restaurants—several of which are still open today. And so Little Tokyo was born. Nearby, you’ll find the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, an outpost of downtown L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art—it holds a vast collection of over 7,000 pieces of artwork. The building that the Geffen Contemporary currently resides in was once a police car warehouse and is dedicated to showcasing the most cutting-edge fads in modern art. Some current exhibits include Untitled (Questions) by Barbara Kruger—a striking 30 by 191 feet red, white, and blue mural that poses questions like “Who is beyond the law?”—Our House: Selections from MOCA’s Collection, which features pieces from the 1950s to the present day, and Jennifer Packer: Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep, an exhibit completely dedicated to the works of the New York City-based artist. (Source: www.afar.com)

 

 

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