With shovels and wooden o’o sticks from Hawaii, the Go For Broke National Education Center broke ground Saturday for their future home in Little Tokyo.
The new office and interactive space will be housed in the old Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple on First Street, within short walking distance of the Go For Broke Monument.
Rev. William Briones gave a blessing during the ceremony, noting that the temple was the site where Japanese Americans assembled prior to the evacuation in 1942.
“It gives us great honor that Go For Broke will be in the building,” Briones said.
Dignitaries joining in the ceremony included Rep. Lucille Roybal Allard, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, former Assemblymember George Nakano, and Chip Mamiya, chairman of the Go For Broke Board of Governors.
Bill Seki, Go For Broke chairman, paid tribute to the late Col. Young Oak Kim, former chairman emeritus of the organization, and an officer in the 100th Infantry and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
“It was the foresight of Col. Young Oak Kim, who said that the (Nisei veteran) story is amazing, it is an American story that everyone should know about,” Seki said.
The new center will house the offices for Go For Broke, as well as an exhibition space that will highlight the accomplishments of Japanese American soldiers during World War II.
Work on the office space is scheduled to be completed in July and the exhibition space to be finished in the spring of 2016. The building is under a 20-year lease from the Japanese American National Museum.
Seki praised the leadership of Dr. Greg Kimura, JANM president and CEO, in making the move happen.
“The JANM-Go For Broke partnership is one that’s going to continue to grow,” Seki said.