headerHistory


Introduction

Issei Immigration

World War II Exclusion

Resettlement

Redevelopment


Little Tokyo traces its origins to the first business started by a Japanese seaman named Kame
who opened a restaurant on Los Angeles Street, near First Street. The Japanese population grew
slowly until the immigrants, known as Issei, decided they want to settle in Los Angeles and raise
families. A population surge (over 30,000 Japanese came to America in 1907 alone), fueled by
arranged marriages, changed Little Tokyo from a bachelor enclave into a community. Many of
the local Japanese were involved in agriculture and that led to the establishment of wholesale
produce markets near Little Tokyo. Despite discrimination, the Japanese built their own
churches, temples and hospitals and established many business and community organizations.