Preserve Little Tokyo

Union Church, 1973

For more than a century, Little Tokyo has endured as a cultural center for Japanese Americans and continues to be a special place where many generations come together to eat, play, shop, and worship. As one of the few remaining historic Japantowns in the country, Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo offers unique opportunities to celebrate the Japanese American experience and the community’s long history in Southern California.

Yet as real estate prices in Downtown Los Angeles rise, and as development pressures in the area grow, many memorable and historic businesses and institutions that called Little Tokyo home have closed their doors. Many more face an uncertain future, with rising rents and real estate speculation.

We established the Little Tokyo Community Investment Fund (LTCIF) to directly address these challenges and try to preserve the legacy of Japanese American family-owned businesses, cultural institutions, and spiritual centers in Little Tokyo.

Can you imagine Little Tokyo not being here? What a devastating loss it would be! Imagine coming back in the future and seeing signs of “Historic Little Tokyo” or “Historical Japantown” a place that exists only in history books or in the fading memory of elders. Imagining that breaks my heart. Just to think of our parents and grandparents and what they endured and built for us, and are we to let it slowly slip away? We can’t let that happen.”

Steve Nagano, LTCIF member

Invest for Community Control

California residents can invest a minimum of $1,000 to become a shareholder in LTCIF which is a social purpose corporation. Other entities such as corporations or trusts can invest a minimum of $10,000.

To achieve its social purpose, LTCIF intends to purchase, lease, and manage, directly or indirectly, commercial real estate in and around the Little Tokyo. The Fund will target commercial real estate, although some properties may be mixed use and include residential units as well.

In real estate, there are a few axioms—such as “If you don’t own it, you can’t control it” and “Timing is everything.” Now is the time for good people to join together to own and control parcels in Little Tokyo so we can preserve this historic neighborhood that represents our history, heritage, and culture—the timing is right now!

Bill Watanabe, LTCIF member

Join Our Efforts

Your investment or time can have a huge impact in Little Tokyo!

The LTCIF is an unprecedented opportunity to come together and work toward a future that reflects our community while honoring its past. To me, that’s something worth investing in.

– Kevin Sanada, LTCIF member

Latest Updates

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Protect the Past

Little Tokyo, one of four remaining historic Japantowns in the United States, has a rich cultural history and is a significant part of the Japanese American experience in Los Angeles. Preserving the legacy of Japanese American family-owned businesses, cultural institutions, and spiritual centers is critical as pressure from outside investors increases. Controlling real estate within the community will help keep gentrification from changing the cultural identity and landscape of the area.

Impact the Present

The Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund (LTCIF) is a public/private partnership and platform that empowers individuals, foundations, and local government to invest collaboratively in the Japanese American community. The LTCIF is led by longstanding stakeholders, experts in real estate and finance, and members of the non-profit community in Little Tokyo. Legacy business owners have the opportunity to sell property to the Fund to maintain the historical value, priorities, and character of the historic Little Tokyo community.

Solidify the Future

The LTCIF provides Japanese American owners of real estate an avenue to maintain their legacy and impact on the community in the face of challenges and development pressures. Family-owned businesses will be able to continue to operate within the community with the help of LTCIF investors. The LTCIF will ensure that the cultural integrity of Little Tokyo will be preserved for future generations.

For more information on how to get involved, join our mailing list today!

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