Throngs of people line up beneath Japanese and American flags draped in front of Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple at First Street and Central Avenue for a parade honoring visiting royalty, Prince Takamatsu, the younger brother of Emperor Hirohito, in 1931. Ironically, Prince Takamatsu was wary of both Japanese colonial expansion and war with the United States. (Photo courtesy of Alan Miyatake/Toyo Miyatake Studios)

Throughout 2014, the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) will observe a year-long celebration of the 130th anniversary of Little Tokyo, which had its origin in 1884 with the establishment of a humble restaurant, Kame, at 340 E. First St.

To celebrate the rich historic and cultural heritage and legacy of Little Tokyo, organizations and individuals that are passionately interested in the past, present and future Little Tokyo are invited to co-partner in developing anniversary presentations, oral histories, community photo share activity, exhibitions, and intergenerational activities.

Planning meetings are the first Saturday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

The commemorative project was introduced at LTHS’ table at the “Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo” event on Jan. 1 at Weller Court. The official kick-off will be tied to the 2014 LTHS Shinnenkai New Year’s luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Teramachi condos’ multi-purpose room, 267 S. San Pedro St., 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The luncheon will follow the LTHS monthly meeting at the same location, 9 to 11 a.m.; everyone is welcome to attend the meeting.

LTHS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization that focuses on researching and discovering the historical resources, stories, and connections of sites, buildings, and events related to Little Tokyo as an ethnic heritage neighborhood.  LTHS is committed to documenting and verifying history of locales, sites, and buildings, as well as preserving and sharing the history and personal stories of Little Tokyo and its residents.

For more information about the anniversary observance, including volunteering, membership, and donating, visit or contact Michael Okamura, president, at or (626) 840-8409.

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