Protecting Ibasho: The Impact of Arts & Culture in Little Tokyo

Economy Culture
Prepared by Jonathan Crisman, PhD | Design by Rosten Woo

LAUNCH & PANEL DISCUSSION
Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 4–6PM
JACCC, 244 S San Pedro St
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“This report seeks to answer the following questions: Does arts and culture have impacts in the Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo community, and what are those impacts? The short answer is a resounding yes.”
– Jonathan Crisman, PhD, Principal Researcher

Sustainable Little Tokyo is thrilled to release this important new report, Protecting Ibasho: The Impact of Arts and Culture in Little Tokyo with our historic Japantown, the City of Los Angeles, and beyond. The report, prepared by Jonathan Crisman, PhD, examines the economic and socio-political impact of arts and culture in Little Tokyo.

As detailed in the report, Little Tokyo is 1 of 3 remaining historic Japantowns left in the entire nation. It has survived multiple waves of redevelopment and displacement, yet continues to be the cultural home to Japanese Americans across Southern California. Little Tokyo is a community that has always understood the vital role of arts and culture in its history, growth, and future—from the creation of historic temples and churches to Nisei Week Festival to Tuesday Night Cafe.

Little Tokyo is now home to more than 15 major Japanese American and Asian American Pacific Islander cultural organizations and countless legacy small businesses. Arts and culture alone generate more than $55.5 million dollars annually within our 150-acre neighborhood, and the impacts radiate outwards across Los Angeles and California. Yet more than economic impacts, arts and culture have also brought the Little Tokyo community together to build social and political power, and a cultural home for the Japanese American community across Southern California.

SLT continues decades of community organizing, artistic efforts, and creative placekeeping to maintain Little Tokyo as 居場所 | ibasho—a Japanese word connoting the sense of home and belonging, a place where one can be oneself. It is with deep gratitude that we share this report, and invite you to celebrate, support, and sustain the arts and culture in Little Tokyo—and protect ibasho for future generations.

Funded by Surdna Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and ArtPlace America. With support from California Arts Council.