May 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Inaugural Sawtelle Japantown Festival

By Staff Writer

Sawtelle Boulevard, always a popular place for its dining and shopping scene, will soon be the location for an annual festival.

Following action taken by Los Angeles City Council, the inaugural Sawtelle Japantown Festival 2020 will be held on May 3, 2020 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.

The event will celebrate the 5-year anniversary of the City of Los Angeles’s formal recognition of “Sawtelle Japantown.” The honorary chair of the celebration is Dr. Jack Fujimoto, a longstanding leader and author of “Sawtelle: West Los Angeles’s Japantown.”

Activities will include walking tours and educational exhibits, and an outdoor stage will showcase performances from talented local groups. A “Kid Zone” celebrating Children’s Day is also planned.

Japanese-Americans began arriving in Los Angeles in the 1890s, with many fleeing anti-Asian persecution in San Francisco. Sawtelle became an ideal home for working Japanese-Americans who were unable to live in nearby restricted communities like Bel-Air, Brentwood and Westwood, In the 1920s, cultural, community, and religious organizations like the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle, West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple and United Methodist Church formed to support this vital community. Sawtelle existed as a separate city until 1922 when it was annexed to the City of Los Angeles.

In 2015, the Los Angeles City Council recognized the achievements of Japanese-Americans in this vital West L.A. community by officially designating “Sawtelle Japantown.”

“The designation serves as an important reminder of the history of our great City and the neighborhoods and people that make it what it is today The Sawtelle Japantown Festival pays homage to this cultural legacy,” reads the LA City Council motion that led to the creation of the festival.

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