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Little Tokyo  

Little Tokyo, also known as Little Tokyo Historic District, is an ethnically Japanese American district in downtown Los Angeles and the heart of the largest Japanese-American population in North America. 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 called Lil’ Tokyo, J-Town, Shō-tōkyō is the cultural center for Japanese Americans in Southern California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995.

At its peak, Little Tokyo had approximately 30,000 Japanese Americans living in the area. Little Tokyo is still a cultural focal point for Los Angeles’s Japanese American population. It is mainly a work, cultural, religious, restaurant and shopping district because Japanese Americans today are likely to live in nearby cities such as Torrance, Gardena, and Monterey Park, as well as the Sawtelle district in the Westside of Los Angeles, California. However, the recent boom in downtown residential construction is changing the nature of Little Tokyo.

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 district’s renovation in the late 1980s. More broadly, Little Tokyo borders the Los Angeles River to the east, downtown Los Angeles, CA, to the west, and L.A. City Hall and the Parker Center to the north. Bed Bug Exterminator LA King

Museums and Galleries

Museums include the Japanese American National Museum and an extension of the Museum of Contemporary Art, formerly called the Temporary Contemporary and now known as the Geffen Contemporary (named after David Geffen). Additionally, the visual arts are represented by the arts non-profit, LAArtcore, which devotes itself to creating awareness of the visual arts through 24 exhibitions each year along with educational programming. An art gallery called 123 Astronaut is housed within a kiosk on Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Street. It contains a monument to Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka, a Japanese American from Hawaiʻi who was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger when it disintegrated during takeoff in 1986.

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