Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), a NeighborWorks network member in Los Angeles, California, soon will complete the first year of scheduled construction for its upcoming multipurpose community center and sports complex, the Paul I. Terasaki Budokan
Named for the late Paul I. Terasaki, Ph.D., a leading scientist of organ transplant technology at the University of California, Los Angeles, the new facility is the fulfillment of more than 25 years of development and fundraising efforts at LTSC. The word "budokan" in Japanese translates as "martial arts hall" in English.
The facility's primary mission is to create a much-needed recreational, cultural and inclusive gathering space for Los Angeles residents and visitors, according to LTSC's leadership. Establishing the Terasaki Budokan also seeks to preserve the sustainability of the Little Tokyo community
, one of the country's oldest remaining Japantowns. When complete, it will feature dedicated space for basketball, volleyball and martial arts, in addition to an outdoor plaza for special events, a children's playground and a community room.
Terasaki Budokan's mission to provide a "home court for all" has its roots in Japanese Americans' affinity for basketball
. The sport has become a hub of cross-generational and cultural unity. It's estimated that in Southern California alone, there are as many as 14,000 Japanese Americans who play in regular club and weekend tournaments. Rather than the facility being known to provide a home-court advantage for locals only, Terasaki Budokan aims to serve as a place where everyone is equally welcome.
Completion of the complex is slated for summer 2019. Construction began in August 2017.