World War II Exclusion
But, even in the postwar, Little Tokyo faced the major changes such as the loss of an entire
block to make way for the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in the 1950s and
the demolition of historic buildings to create space for new developments, some financed by
Japanese companies, in the 1970s. In response, the local community led the establishment of
the Little Tokyo Towers, a 300-unit structure built for seniors, the construction of the Japanese
American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) and the founding of the Little Tokyo
Service Center (LTSC). Rather than demolish old buildings, the former Nishi Hongwanji
Buddhist Temple was renovated by the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the
old Union Church structure became the Union Center for the Arts, thanks to LTSC, housing
several nonprofits including East West Players, L.A. Artcore and Visual Communications. The
north side of First Street, from Central Avenue to Judge John Aiso Street, was declared the Little
Tokyo Historic District by the Department of the Interior.
Today, the challenges remain, including the prospect of major construction with the proposed
Metro Regional Connector running through the heart of Little Tokyo. The formation of the
Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) in 2000 has provided a mechanism through which
the businesses, residents and nonprofits can work together to face the challenges of the future.
If its history is any indication, Little Tokyo will persist and welcome the next generation of new
visitors and supporters.