The Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) will unveil a historical marker and a bronze plaque to commemorate the site of the first Japanese-owned business in Little Tokyo on Monday, May 16, at 10 a.m. at 340 E. First St.

Kame Restaurant, as it was known, was owned and operated by an Issei sailor named Hamanosuke Shigeta, who jumped ship in San Diego and came to Los Angeles to seek his fortune. Shigeta, as a cook, opened his business in 1884 and served “American-style” food at the location that is now Bunkado.

LTHS, with the support of City Councilmember Kevin de Leon, applied for and received Historic Cultural Landmark status for Kame Restaurant, which is often referred to as the catalyst for “the birth of Little Tokyo.” A street pole sign, provided by the City of Los Angeles, will be unveiled by de Leon to recognize Kame Restaurant’s importance.

In addition to the historic cultural marker, a bronze plaque will be installed on the outside wall of Bunkado. The owner of Bunkado, Irene Tsukada Simonian, a third-generation business owner committed to carrying on the entrepreneurial spirit of Shigeta and the legacy of family businesses in Little Tokyo, will unveil the plaque. LTHS would like to thank Simonian for her role in the financial support of the bronze plaque.

LTHS is committed to the preservation of Little Tokyo, one of three remaining historic Japantowns in the U.S.

LTHS welcomes members of the community and supporters of Little Tokyo to join in the recognition of Kame Restaurant. Following the unveilings, those in attendance are invited to walk across the street to Sake Dojo for coffee and morning treats after the short program. 

To learn more about LTHS, visit:

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