Monday, April 17, 2017

Little Tokyo Historical Society: Sharing history and talking preservation at Historic Wintersburg

ABOVE: Yukio Kawaratani leads the group from Los Angeles-based Little Tokyo Historical Society through the tall grass toward the 1912 Furuta bungalow. Behind them at center is the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Mission and, to the right) the 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Church.  More than a century of history with many connections with Little Tokyo history. (Photo, M. Urashima, April 8, 2017) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©

   Members of the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS),, spent a day in Huntington Beach, touring Historic Wintersburg and discussing shared history. Formed in 2006, LTHS is focused on the history of the Little Tokyo Historic District in downtown Los Angeles, California.  

   LTHS was one of the first supporters of Historic Wintersburg and our partner in the first fundraiser in 2012, a red carpet screening in Orange County of the film, Lil Tokyo Reporter, about civil rights attorney and newspaper publisher Sei Fujii.  Read more at

   Our thanks to Little Tokyo Historical Society for their longstanding solidarity and support, historical insight, and advocacy for the preservation of Historic Wintersburg!

ABOVE: Tadashi Kowta shares his memories of living in the manse (parsonage) and life in Wintersburg Village. His father was the Reverend Sohei Kowta, the clergy for the Wintersburg Japanese Church from 1938 to 1942.  The Kowtas were incarcerated at the Colorado River Relocation Center (Poston), Arizona, along with the majority of those from Orange County.  The Kowta family story is at  (Photo, M. Urashima, April 8, 2017)  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©

ABOVE: LTHS members make their way through the nopal ("prickly pear" cactus) on the south side of the Furuta barn.  The nopal were planted by employees of Rainbow Environmental, the trash company that purchased the property in 2004, and are not original to the farm.  The nopal is are on land once covered with goldfish ponds.  (Photo, M. Urashima, April 8, 2017)  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©

LEFT: LTHS members at Historic Wintersburg with preservation chair Mary Urashima (back left) and new task force member and Huntington Beach resident Frankie Edeza (far right).  Little Tokyo is a National Park Service historic district which, prior to World War II, was home to the largest Japanese American community in the United States.  Prior to World War II incarceration, Little Tokyo covered three square miles in downtown Los Angeles and had multiple kenjin-kai (mutual aid associations) representing 40 of Japan's 46 prefectures.  Read more about Little Tokyo's history on the National Park Service website at  (Photo courtesy of Michael Okamura, Little Tokyo Historical Society, April 8, 2017) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©

RIGHT: Little Tokyo is home to the Japanese American National Museum,, which has hosted book signings and presentations for Historic Wintersburg, as well as the premier screening of the  documentary film, Our American Family: The Furutas of Historic Wintersburg, before it aired nationally on PBS.  (Photo, M. Urashima, 2016) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©

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The Historic Wintersburg blog focuses on an overlooked history in Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, in the interest of saving a historic property from demolition. The author and publisher reserves the right not to publish comments. Please no promotional or political commentary. Zero tolerance for hate rhetoric. Comments with embedded commercial / advertising links or promoting other projects, books, or publications may not be published. If you have an interesting anecdote, question or comment about one of our features, it will be published.