Little Osaka was a fitting nickname for the West LA neighborhood of Sawtelle, but the nod to the area's long-standing Japanese community wasn't actually official. Last week, the Los Angeles City Council fixed that, voting unanimously to name the neighborhood Sawtelle Japantown, say our friends at Eater. Starting in the 1890s, Japanese immigrants migrating down from San Francisco made Sawtelle their home, largely because of the restrictions in other Westside communities about where non-whites could live, says a letter from Councilmember Mike Bonin (whose district includes Japantown) written in support of the new designation.
Today, the area's still home to tons of Japanese eateries, shops, karaoke joints, and nurseries, so why not just call it what it is and has long been? The borders of this new 'hood will extend from Santa Monica Boulevard down to Pico between the 405 and Centinela.
The formal name makes Sawtelle Japantown LA's second official Japanese community (after Downtown's Little Tokyo), and the nation's fourth. Now that the it's been named, the next step is to get that big blue neighborhood sign up; an aide for Councilmember Bonin tells Rafu Shimpo when it's ready, there will be a big unveiling celebration.
· West LA's Sawtelle Neighborhood Finally Gets the Japantown Recognition it Deserves [Eater LA]
· Sawtelle Gets Official 'Japantown' Designation [Rafu Shimpo]