After 20 years, Little Tokyo finally gets Budokan

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After waiting 20 years for a recreation center, the Little Tokyo community will finally be breaking ground on the construction site of the future Terasaki Budokan this August.

Funding Budokan started with the Terasaki family, the namesake of the recreation center. They built a campaign to raise 25 million dollars for Budokan. During August 2011 only 10 percent of the money was collected. But by May 2017, 93 percent of the money was collected. The breakdown of the money was 60 percent government funds, 34 percent individual giving, 5 percent foundations and 1 percent corporate.

According to Rafu Shimpo, the idea of a gymnasium originates from the 1970’s in an effort to connect with the young people in the Little Tokyo community.

Sports such as basketball and volleyball served as a hub of socializing and morale when Japanese American families on the west coast were forced to relocate to internment camps during WWII, and recreation sports organizations and teams associated with Japanese American organizations remain integral to the Japanese American community today.

Many Japanese immigrants moved to the Little Tokyo area in the early 1900’s, and LTSC started in 1979, when Japanese Americans were starting a new life in Los Angeles. The organization worked throughout the years to make progress within the community. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, the LTSC fought for affordable housing because low-income residents were evicted for private redevelopment.

Today, LTSC has programs for children, youth and families. The after-school program is based on tutoring and mentoring to the students who live in Casa Heiwa and the Angelina Apartments. Xeandric Cross is one of the students who participates in the after-school program as he says “it’s like a home.”

The construction work will start on Aug. 3. The groundbreaking ceremony event is free and open to the public.

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