Clockwise from top left: Trisha Murakawa, Doug and Chris Aihara, Brandon Okita, and Bill and Ruth Watanabe share a toast for honorees Alan Nishio and Hilda Solis during the LTSC virtual gala on Oct. 10.

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a virtual gala on Oct. 10.

LTSC Executive Director Erich Nakano

The free online celebration gave everyone a chance to participate in the night of festivities, including musical performances and a silent auction. The event attracted over 1,200 unique online viewers and raised over $350,000 through generous sponsorships, donations, and silent auction bids. The gala video is still available to watch.

Visit to find a link to the video along with opportunities to support the organization with a gift.

“We extend our deepest appreciation to our supporters, board members, and staff for making the gala a huge success,” said LTSC Executive Director Erich Nakano. “It’s very important that we have this kind of support; it allows us to be responsive in supporting individuals and families in need while promoting the equitable development of ethnic communities and their rich cultural heritage.”

The gala’s theme, “Better Together,” celebrated the spirit of collaboration that strengthens the organization’s work. LTSC honored two essential community members, Alan Nishio and Hilda Solis. Nishio is a longtime educator, community activist and LTSC board member whose tireless dedication has impacted many lives. Solis, the Los Angeles County supervisor for the 1st District, was recognized for her crucial support of LTSC programs, especially the Terasaki Budokan.

The gala highlighted the ways LTSC has responded to the pandemic.

LTSC also presented a special tribute to the late Dean Matsubayashi, the former executive director, whose wit and wisdom continue to inspire LTSC’s work.

Celebrities Tamlyn Tomita, Keiko Agena, and chef Roy Choi all recorded messages of support for LTSC while musical acts June Kuramoto of Hiroshima, Point Lobo aka Miles Senzaki and Andrew Figueroa Chiang provided entertainment for the evening. The event also included a sneak peek of the Terasaki Budokan, the newly built multi-use recreational center in the heart of Little Tokyo and Downtown Los Angeles.

LTSC is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for 40 years. Starting with its home in Little Tokyo, LTSC preserves and strengthens the unique ethnic communities of the region where people, culture and collective future matter.

Family business owners such as Irene Simonian of Bunkado Gift Shop were featured. (Toyo Miyatake Studio)

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