Self-defense class held at Terasaki Budokan in response to anti-Asian hate incidents.

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) will celebrate the grand opening of the Paul I. Terasaki Budokan, a community recreation facility, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, March 11, followed by a free and public grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Both events will be held at Terasaki Budokan, 249 S. Los Angeles St. (between Second and Third streets), Los Angeles. Though the facility has been operating since spring of 2020, a public celebration was postponed due to the pandemic. The culmination of a 30-year dream, the Terasaki Budokan Grand Opening is a community celebration honoring the decades of perseverance that brought the vision to life.

Terasaki Budokan summer camp kids

Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony will gather instrumental public officials, funders, community partners and supporters of the Terasaki Budokan project to commemorate the realization of this visionary project. Speakers include Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, 53rd Assembly District; Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de Leon, 14th District; Bill Watanabe, former LTSC executive director; Jan Perry, former Los Angeles city councilmember and executive director at Shelter Partnership; and more.

“It has truly taken a village to bring this project to fruition – from grassroots supporters, to visionary elected officials, to generous donors large and small, public agencies at many levels of government to foundation and corporate partners,” explained Erich Nakano, LTSC executive director.

LTSC vaccine clinic at Terasaki Budokan

Saturday’s grand opening celebration is a free, community-centered event that invites the Little Tokyo community, Downtown L.A. community, and greater Japanese American community of Southern California to tour the facility while enjoying exciting activities and performances.

Notable guest appearances include Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West, 2020 U.S. Olympian Sakura Kokumai (presented by Panasonic) and a musical performance by Grammy Award-winning band Quetzal.

Urban Voices performance at Terasaki Budokan

The celebration will also feature a calligraphy performance by artist Kuni Yoshida; taiko performance by J-Town Taiko Club; hula performance by Hālau Hula Keali’i O Nālani; martial arts demonstrations by Sho Tokyo Kendo Dojo, Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu of Little Tokyo and Budokan Judo of L.A.; music activation by Urban Voices Project; hip-hop dance workshops by The Music Center’s UniverSOUL Hip Hop; DJ sets by DJ Caroline and DJ Mista Fista of KFA; basketball skills competition; table tennis tournament; and more.

“LTSC has created a ‘Home Court for All’ for everyone to come together and celebrate the diversity of Los Angeles and Little Tokyo. We’re excited to finally celebrate the grand opening of our facility with our community and the folks that helped make it happen,” said Ryan Lee, director of Terasaki Budokan. “Budokan is much more than just a new gym and event facility. It is an intersection of culture and athletics and a testament to the unwavering strength of our community. It’s a foothold to ensure the spirit of our community will endure for future generations.

Watch party held when Sakura Kokumai (on screen) was competing in the Olympics

About LTSC

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. Info: www.LTSC.org

East L.A. Taiko performs at Terasaki Budokan

About Terasaki Budokan

Paul I. Terasaki Budokan is a multipurpose sports facility and community center in Little Tokyo. The culmination of a 30-year dream and development process by LTSC, Budokan provides much-needed community space and programming for youth, families and seniors in Downtown Los Angeles. Budokan aims to connect visitors to Japanese American culture and contribute to a vibrant, sustainable Little Tokyo. Info: www.terasakibudokan.org

Resident art installation (Photo by Scott Oshima)

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