Los Angeles's Little Tokyo

Item # 151238.

By Little Tokyo Historical Society.

In 1884, a Japanese sailor named Hamanosuke Shigeta made his way to the eastern section of downtown Los Angeles and opened Little Tokyo's first business, an American-style cafe. By the early 20th century, this neighborhood on the banks of the Los Angeles River had developed into a vibrant community serving the burgeoning Japanese American population of Southern California. When Japanese Americans were forcibly removed to internment camps in World War II, Little Tokyo was rechristened "Bronzeville" as a newly established African American enclave popular for its jazz clubs and churches. Despite the War Relocation Authority's opposition to re-establishing Little Tokyo following the war, Japanese Americans gradually restored the strong ties evident today in 21st-century Little Tokyo-a multicultural, multi-generational community that is the largest Nihonmachi (Japantown) in the United States.

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