Members of the Little Tokyo community were invited to Anime Expo 2022 to share the storied past of the over 130-year-old neighborhood.
On July 1st, day one of Anime Expo, the Little Tokyo Historical Society hosted their first ever panel at AX titled “LTHS Dynamism in the 130+ Year Neighborhood.” Mike Okamura, Jeffrey Gee Chin, and Chris Tashima highlighted the various historic monuments scattered throughout the neighborhood and shared tidbits about their history and the historical figures and events that they honored. Particular focus was placed on civil right pioneer Sei Fujii and his contributions to Japanese American history.
July 2 saw two panels from members of the Little Tokyo community. In a panel titled: “The Fall and Rise of Little Tokyo,” key members of the community including Chris Komai, Little Tokyo Community Council First Vice Chair, Kristin Fukushima, Little Tokyo Community Center Managing Director, Patricia Wyatt, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center President and CEO, and ABC 7 news anchor David Ono highlighted the organizations that keep Little Tokyo going strong including LTSC, LTCC, JACCC, and even the Rafu Shimpo. Key historic events such as the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the incarceration of Japanese Americans following Executive Order 9066, and the reintegration of Japanese Americans after the end of WWII were also highlighted.
Just down the hall, the L.A. Tanabata Festival hosted a panel titled “Tanabata Festival Community Kazari Workshop.” Attendees were able to craft their own keepsakes and even contribute to the Anime Expo community kazari while learning about the history of the Tanabata Festival. The L.A. Tanabata Festival will be returning this year after a 2-year hiatus.
On July 4, the final day of Anime Expo, attendees were given the opportunity to bid for anime swag during the Anime Expo Charity Auction. The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation or SPJA, the organization behind Anime Expo, partnered with JACCC as a part of their year-long expansion of their charity recipient program. All proceeds from the auction were donated to the JACCC.
By BHIT YOON
Photos by SOPHIA COLE / Rafu Shimpo