Welcome to the Little Tokyo Blog

We've set up this space where members of the Little Tokyo community could share information, thoughts, ideas, and opinions about the Little Tokyo neighborhood, it's people, politics, culture/history, businesses, and events.


LA Asian Pacific Film Fest

Beginning this Thursday, April 29, Visual Communications hosts a 10 day film event featuring works from established and upcoming Asian American and international filmmakers. Check out the festival website and buy tickets online. See you there!


Intertwined: Bamboo & Stem @ JACCC

On the Veranda Program: Bamboo Forest

An Insight by Kenichi Nagakura
Sunday, 04.25.10 1-3pm

At the forefront of innovative bamboo basket design is Kenichi Nagakura. Trained in traditional weaving techniques, Nagakura continues to explore the limits of bamboo baskets with his innovative style and techniques.

Complimenting Intertwined: Bamboo & Stem Exhibition, acclaimed artist Kenichi Nagakura will give a lecture and demonstrate how thin slivers of bamboo can be blended together to make some of the most creative sculptures today, giving audience members a deeper understanding of bamboo art and the collaborative process between the artists. Bamboo Forest, An Insight by Kenichi Nagakura is part of the JACCC's On the Veranda Cultural Programs.

Intertwined: Bamboo & Stem exhibit is made possible in part by the generous support from the TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

JACCC Garden Room
$20 General Admission
$15 JACCC Members
$18 Seniors/Students


Shiny Red Cup

You’re invited to the opening reception for an alternative art space on the border of Little Tokyo and the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles.

Gallery 203

Little Tokyo Galleria

333 S. Alameda St., #203

Los Angeles, CA 90013 | View Map

This Friday, April 23: 6 pm to midnight

Free Event with 3hrs Free Parking

Artists Caroline Kim and Kirsten Gabbe were asked to revitalize a vacant storefront in the mall and have embraced this opportunity to engage with the community.

Caroline Kim (sister of Helen Kim in previous post) has created a site-specific installation: Contact: Experiment on Broadcasting: INTERPRETATION AS A CATALYST OF ACTIVATING SUBLIMITY: INFORMATION INTO MEANING. The piece, which is currently on view, transforms paper plates, newspaper and shiny red plastic cups into a luminous listening experience.

Echo Park painter Kirsten Gabbe presents her most recent series: AFTER PAINTINGS, translucent washes on canvas. For her interactive installation Memory Net, the artist invites gallery visitors to “tie” their personal connections into a timeline of Little Tokyo.

Additional information at http://gallery203.blogspot.com


Children's Reading at the Little Tokyo Library

A couple years ago, Helen Kim, a colleague of mine working for the Asians for Miracle Matches program at the Little Tokyo Service Center, asked me if she could borrow a few of my son's children's books. She had just landed a volunteer position at the Central Library, and needed to practice for some upcoming readings for toddlers and preschoolers. Helen's been reading to kids ever since.

And though I never found the time to make it out to one of her readings, this Saturday will be our chance. Helen's a drama queen (in the literal sense), and she has a flair for telling stories...mostly for adults, but this one should be a fun and interesting adaptation of style.

Please come out and join us for this event:

17 April 2010
11 AM to 1 PM
203 S. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, 90012


"Japanese Hospital: Caring for the Pre-War Nikkei Community" this Sunday, April 11!

Japanese Hospital: Caring for the Pre-War Nikkei Community
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Free with JANM admission

Light reception to follow

An Event of
the Little Tokyo Historical Society & Discover Nikkei

The above photo was taken at the opening of Japanese Hospital in January 1929. Included are the five Issei doctors who started the hospital and J. Marion Wright, the attorney who represented them in the U.S. Supreme Court trial. The story of the Japanese community’s fight for better medical care in the 1920s will be recounted in the public program, “Japanese Hospital: Caring for the Pre-War Nikkei Community” on Sunday, April 11 at 2pm at the Japanese American National Museum.

The program is free with Museum admission and open to the public. Reservations are recommended to rsvp@janm.org or 213.625.0414 at least 48 hours prior to the event. Visit janm.org for more information.

Gift of the Obi Family, Japanese American National Museum (98.144.3).

Rafu Community Page: Go For Broke National Captures 1,000th Oral History

Rafu shares another article from its community page. Be sure to check out the Rafu Shimpo website for more local and JA news.
Go For Broke National Captures 1,000th Oral History
More interviews to come with MIS linguists and other Nisei veterans
George Kobayashi, MIS Linguist

Gardena resident George Kobayashi, a Military Intelligence Service (MIS) linguist in occupied Japan, gave Go For Broke National Education Center's (GFBNEC) Hanashi Oral History Program its 1,000th unique interview in mid-March. Kaoru "Kay" Yokoyama followed that same afternoon as number 1,001 and Hanashi's first interview with a woman who worked for Civil Service in an office for the War Crimes Division, B Trials. GFBNEC is working with the US Army Center for Military History to collect 30 oral histories a year for a scholarly, objective and professional history of Nisei or second-generation Japanese American linguists who served in Japan from 1945 - 1952, during the US Military's post-World War II occupation. This is the second year of the three-year program.

GFBNEC Hanashi staff captured 32 of these interviews last year and 20 so far this year. An estimated 3,000 Japanese Americans served during this period. Before beginning this project for the Center for Military History, GFBNEC had already interviewed several Nisei linguists who were in the US MIS during World War II and stationed in occupied Japan after the fighting ended.

PFC Kobayashi arrived in Tokyo in 1946 and was assigned to the War Crimes Tribunal, A Trials. His job was to call the court to order every morning and sit in on questioning of those being tried to ensure that questioning did not damage the legal process.

Kobayashi grew up in San Francisco where a high-school counselor told him he would never amount to anything because he was Japanese American. Disregarding his counselor, he applied to Berkeley in 1941 but his family was forced into the Topaz Internment Camp in Utah before he could finish his degree. He found a way to get out of Topaz by working on a farm and applied to the University of Utah to finish his studies. But, on the heels of an older brother in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Kobayashi was drafted. Kobayashi became a structural engineer after he completed his service in the MIS.
Kay Yokohama

Yokoyama was born in Glendale and raised on a farm on the outskirts of Burbank. On Pearl Harbor Day, she was with friends in the middle of a movie when a fleeting newsreel flashed a report of the attack. The newsreel was brief and she didn't recognize the significance of the event until she left the theater. Her father was arrested a few days later because of suspicion related to his service as a board member for a Japanese school. She and her family evacuated to an uncle's farm in Utah to avoid being sent to an internment camp. After sleeping in the barn with the animals because the house was too small to shelter the extended family, Yokoyama first joined a sister in Salt Lake City and then moving to Chicago with another sister. Yokoyama found a job working for the War Labor Board of the American Council on Race Relations.

Yokoyama was recruited by the US Army as a civilian secretary to work for the Civil Service in Japan and signed a two-year contract, effective from the spring of 1947 through early 1950. She was assigned to the War Crimes Division, B Trials, and worked at the Yokohama courthouse until she was promoted to be the executive administrative assistant for the chief of the War Crimes Division, B Trials. Her job was to take hand-written transcripts and type them. In her work, she encountered General Douglas McArthur and other famous historic figures, along with some regarded as infamous. Assisting an investigator at Sugama Prison outside of Tokyo, she saw General Hideki Tojo, the 40th prime minister of Japan and leader of the country during World War II. Yokoyama now lives in Carlsbad, CA.

The Hanashi team is traveling throughout California and nationwide to conduct its interviews with MIS Nisei veterans who served in Japan during its occupation. In addition to Kobayashi and Yokoyama, Hanashi's recent interviews for this program include Paul Ito in Sacramento; Fred Fujimoto, Elk Grove; Koji Kawaguchi, Woodbridge; Toshi Uesato, San Jose; Moffet Ishikawa, San Jose and Joe Kurata, San Francisco. More interviews in Northern California, Seattle, Texas and Minneapolis are planned.

GFBNEC's Hanashi video oral history archives are the largest of their kind in the nation. They provide content for GFBNEC's teacher training and education programs and they're a valuable resource for museums, universities, journalists, corporations, academics, researchers, production companies, film studios and more. More than 700 of these personal stories are available to teachers, students, historians, researchers, veterans and their families, and to the general public on GFBNEC's website at www.goforbroke.org. Additional information about GFBNEC's Hanashi Oral History Program, including volunteer opportunities, is available by contacting Laura Shigemitsu, Program Manager, at 310-222-5705 or laura@goforbroke.org. GFBNEC also welcomes names and current contact information, including telephone numbers, email and mailing addresses, for Nisei who served in occupied Japan at (310) 222-5705 or Hanashi@goforbroke.org.


Rafu Community Page: Hanamatsuri Celebration to be Held April 11

Another article that first appeared in the Rafu Shimpo Community Page!

Already, Hanamatsuri, the celebration of the Buddha’s birthday is right around the corner. This year’s Los Angeles Buddhist Church Federation’s Hanamatsuri will be held on Sunday, April 11 from 1 p.m. at the Jodoshu North America Buddhist Missions at 442 East Third Street in Little Tokyo. The theme of this year’s celebration is Buddhism and Compassion.

The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. with a special performance of by Kinnara Gagaku of Senshin Buddhist Temple. The visually stunning Bugaku, the classical dance that accompanies Gagaku music will be the featured part of this year’s performance.

The Hanamatsuri Service conducted by over ten priests of the federation temples will begin at 1:20 p.m. The traditional chanting of the priests will be enhanced by the music of Gagaku. An awards presentation for the winners of this year’s Children’s Art and Photography contests will take place immediately after the service.

This year’s highlight will be the commemorative lecture on Buddhism and Compassion delivered by Dr. Glenn Webb, Professor Emeritus of Pepperdine University and one of our country’s leading Buddhist scholars.

In addition to the celebration on April 11, the annual Hanamatsuri Golf Tournament was held on Friday, March 26 at California Country Club. The funds raised at this event will go towards maintaining the annual LABCC Buddhist Summer Camp program.

The Hanamatsuri Children’s Art and Photo exhibition will be on display at the Jodoshu North America Buddhist Missions from April 11 through April 19.

For more information, please contact (213) 626-4200 or info@hhbt-la.org.

Photo: Mario G. Reyes/Rafu Shimpo

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Although the national festival takes place in DC, the Cherry Blossom Festival of Southern California of the took place April 10-11, 2010 in Little Tokyo. Here is a guest post by Erik of the National Museum of Crime and Punishment on one aspect of the sociopolitical significance of cherry blossom trees...

National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

The Cherry Blossom in DC is home to The National Cherry Blossom Festival (501(3)(c) non-profit). The festival is a two-week, annual event that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the long lasting friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. The event begins March 27th through April 11th, with a parade on Saturday, April 10th beginning at 10am.

Prior to this intangible peace treaty, 19th century imperialism drew clear lines of separation between these two great nations. Through it's strict policy of isolation, Japan remained untouched by western ways until the Treaty of Amity (1854). Although, feelings of mistrust and resentment continued to ride due to early U.S. Naval Leaders gunboat diplomacy upon Japan. In order to lessen tensions and restore peace, mutual Cherry and Flowering Dogwood tree offerings were given.

DC Attractions include multiple festivals, museums, monuments, and more. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization that coordinates, produces, and supports creative and diverse activities promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and the environment, and community spirit and youth education. It's also begins peak season for an influx of tourists to Washington, also brought in by the thousands of historical landmarks, museums, and other buildings. Some of the most popular DC Tours include Hop-On-Off Double-Decker Bus, Discover DC Segway Safari, & Arlington Cemetery, and Washington DC After Dark.

The National Museum of Crime & Punishment, located in Washington, D.C. contains excellent depictions of historically famous crime scenes along detailed information concerning past wars, forensics, organized crime, and more. Feel free to stop by our website and get a preview of some of the most notoriously famous crime scenes in U.S. History. There's plenty of information on featured exhibits in our crime library along with a vast amount of Crime Data at our Forensic blog.