Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
Omoide No Shotokyo (Remembering Old Little Tokyo)
Project Area: Little Tokyo
Project: First Street North Improvement Project
Project Location: First Street (North Side)
Project Type: CRA Initiated
"Remembering Old Tokyo" sidewalk designs celebrate the last intact historic block of the original Little Tokyo, beginning at the old Union Church on San Pedro, running the length of First Avenue, and up to the northern 1000' l property line of the Japanese American National Museum on Central.
A timeline in the sidewalk is divided by decades from 1890 through the 1930s. Brass texts in front of each building entrance define what the building housed in a given decade. For example, a stainless steel text describes acts of discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II in the sixth timeline, the 1940s. Within these planes are also brass quotations from Japanese Americans remembering early neighborhood life on this block of Little Tokyo. Also embedded in the sidewalk are images of the "wrappings" of people’s memories (tsutsumi) designed by artist Sonya Ishii, stemming from the idea that a container is as important as that which it contains.
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