History of Japanese in Los Angeles

Inside of Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles areas, there is a large population of natural Japanese and Japanese Americans.

Starting off in the 1890s, Japanese began to arrive in Los Angeles. The very first group to arrive had traveled from San Francisco, California after they had begun to experience the Anti-Asian sentiment within the city.

Starting in December of 1941, there were well over 37,000 ethnic Japanese people within Los Angeles county. It was not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that President Roosevelt would issue the Executive Order 9066, which gave the military permission to exclude people from certain areas within the name of national defense. The Western Defense Command then began to order all Japanese Americans who lived on the west coast to show up for an evacuation from newly created military zones. This caused many Japanese families to show up from the Los Angeles district.

Eventually the Japanese would be moved into internment or concentration camps where they were not treated like human beings, but people who were not worth the time for kindness or courtesy as many people believed that many Japanese Americans were spies or had helped within the account of Pearl Harbor bombing. Eventually World War II would end but there would be severe issues to follow when it comes to the internment camp processes. This caused an issue with many landlords refusing to house those who lived there before.

After the war had ended, because of the lack of housing in their original neighborhood of Little Tokyo, most Japanese Americans who were returning from internment camps had moved into neighborhoods that surrounded most of the downtown area. They mainly moved into boarding houses and apartments. Boyle Heights, which is just eat of Little Tokyo, is one area that has a notably large Japanese American population within the 1950s, just like before the internment camps until the swooping arrival of Latino and Mexican immigrants replaced most of the Japanese American population in that area.

Starting in 2014, Torrance actually has the largest concentration of ethnic Japanese population more than any United States city, after Honolulu, Hawaii. This city is the headquarters of many Japanese automakers and officers for large Japanese companies. It is because of this that many Japanese cultural offerings and restaurants are within the city. There is also a Mitsuwa supermarket, Japanese banks, and schools that service the Japanese community. These businesses happen to cater to mostly natural Japanese and Japanese Americans. They will often speak both English, Spanish and Japanese as many cultures live within Los Angeles.

During pre-World War II, this area was one of the few areas that would allow non-US citizens to have property, and this allowed there to be a Japanese presence. The corporate presence started with Toyota and has attracted many ethnic Japanese. Toyota moved to this city because of the proximity to the Los Angeles Airport and Port of Long Beach, and soon after many other Japanese companies would follow to join Toyota in the city.