GARDENA — Little Tokyo Service Center, a social service and community development organization serving the Japanese American and other diverse communities, is opening a South Bay office, located at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, 1964 W. 162nd St., Gardena.

To welcome the community to its new office, LTSC will host an open house with light refreshments on Friday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome to drop by. RSVP at

Dr. Hiroko Higuchi Muratsuchi
Dr. Hiroko Higuchi Muratsuchi

LTSC has provided services to seniors, caregivers and families with young children in the South Bay for more than 20 years. Last fall, LTSC received a grant from NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit organization, to enhance services, provide support to establish an office, and expand accessibility and outreach to the large Japanese American community in the South Bay, including the large Shin-Issei (post-World War II Japanese immigrant) population living and working in the area.

“Little Tokyo Service Center is excited to launch this new initiative to better serve the needs of the large South Bay Nikkei community,” said Dr. Hiroko Higuchi Muratsuchi, LTSC’s South Bay community engagement coordinator. “We are thankful to the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute for partnering with LTSC in this endeavor.”

“LTSC has been providing quality and culturally sensitive social services to the Nikkei community in the South Bay for many years, and has been an important community partner with us by collaborating on many public programs,” said Alison Kochiyama, GVJCI executive director. “Gardena Valley JCI has relied on LTSC for bilingual services, which are essential in the South Bay. We at Gardena Valley JCI are so happy to be able to house LTSC’s South Bay office here, which will extend their services to reach more people.”

To support its outreach effort, LTSC is in the process of starting a South Bay Japanese American needs assessment study led by Dr. Higuchi. The study is funded by grants from NeighborWorks America and the UCLA Aratani Community Advancement Research Endowment (CARE).

“This study will be the first comprehensive survey focusing on the South Bay Japanese American community,” explained Higuchi. “The survey will focus on identifying the needs of not only Japanese Americans who have lived in the South Bay for generations, but also the needs of postwar Japanese immigrants who now make up almost half of the Japanese American population in the greater Los Angeles area.”

LTSC will consult with various stakeholders throughout the entire process of the study and share the report widely with stakeholders and community groups after its completion, which is expected to be in the fall of 2016.

For more information regarding LTSC’s South Bay office or the South Bay Japanese American needs assessment study, contact Higuchi at

LTSC is a nonprofit community-based organization that has been providing services for over 35 years to the greater Los Angeles community. Programs include senior services, assistance for victims of domestic violence, support groups, social services, child abuse prevention, mental health counseling, early childhood education, affordable housing, youth programs and community economic development. For more information, visit

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