Umemoto on Opening of Terasaki Budokan
Urban Planning Professor Karen Umemoto spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the opening of the Terasaki Budokan gym and community center in Little Tokyo. After decades of planning and a $35-million fundraising effort, the opening of the Budokan in June was a huge victory for the Little Tokyo community. Umemoto explained that many Japanese immigrants settled in what became Little Tokyo in the late 19th century after being shut out from other neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. Later, those same Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from Little Tokyo when the U.S. government sent them to concentration camps during World War II. The Budokan will host sports leagues, afterschool programs, classes for senior citizens and cultural events, but most importantly, it will be a gathering place in a historic neighborhood threatened by assimilation and gentrification. It will also help young people connect with their roots and may help revive business in Little Tokyo’s stores and restaurants.
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