Japanese History Lecture Series

Finding the Future in the Past:

Preserving Little Tokyo and Building Japanese American Community

Dr. Hillary Jenks PSU

Thursday April 22nd

7:00 pm

Native American Community Center

710 SW Jackson Street, Portland

Over the last three decades, the Japanese American Community in Southern California has decreased in social and political significance relative to other immigrant and ethnic groups even as they have themselves become more spatially fragmented and culturally diverse. As a result, the old downtown enclave of Little Tokyo has loomed increasingly large in the local Nikkei consciousness as the key site in which to reconnect to community and rebuild an ethnic identity appropriate to twenty-first century realities. This lecture examines some of the innovative measures through which community institutions have sought to achieve material and symbolic ownership of the enclave, the response of Japanese Americans to shaping the community's future around Little Tokyo, and the challenges posed to such strategies by the pressures of downtown real estate development and urban politics.