to provide a facility in Downtown Los Angeles for youth, families and seniors that offers sports, community activities and opportunities to connect visitors to Japanese American culture and to a vibrant, sustainable Little Tokyo.



*Our fundraising gap is now $1.8 million.

Los Angeles Development Fund
mccormack baron salazar
Opportunity Fund
office of community services
Prop A Molina
props 84
Prop A Solis
prop k
The Ahmanson Foundation
LA84 foundation
Neighborworks America
Neighborworks Strategic Growth Fund
The Rose Hills Foundation
Weingart Foundation
W.M. Keck Foundation
Los Angeles Lakers
Mitsubishi Electric
Toyota Logo

Annual Budokan Events

Straight Outta Little Tokyo
RAFU Brian Golfing
San x San : 3x3
Coed Volleyball Tournament

Community Events

Walk The Farm
Nissei Week
Enka Concert
Big Budokan Bash

Video about Budokan Project by Tad Nakamura

Budokan Project Video with Japanese Subtitles



Walton Construction has started demolition/excavation at Terasaki Budokan but due to inflated construction costs, the original $25M project currently sits at $30.8M with the additional $3M endowment bringing the total capital campaign to $33.8M.  Little Tokyo Service Center has successfully raised $31.4 million as of February 2019 and Terasaki Budokan is scheduled to open early in 2020.


The Terasaki Family Foundation has generously donated $3.5 million to Little Tokyo Service Center’s community-driven project, Budokan of Los Angeles.  Budokan of LA will be renamed after the late organ transplant pioneer and philanthropist Dr. Paul I. Terasaki.

Our groundbreaking ceremony was on Thursday, August 3, 2017!  We had 300 guests in attendance with 25 speakers to celebrate this huge milestone for the Budokan Project.  Mitsubishi Electric US President and CEO Kent Hora announced they will be donating a solar power system to Terasaki Budokan.  Not only will this generous gift help lower the electrical costs for LTSC, the use of solar panels for a 25 year period will equal planting 17,500 new trees or removing 143 cars off the road.


Special events like the Budokan Toyota Raffle, Big Budokan Bash, Straight Outta Little Tokyo, Bola-thon, and the return of the San Tai San Basketball Tournament have helped the Budokan Project gain momentum towards breaking ground in 2017.

Grassroots photo

LTSC launches the Budokan Grassroots Campaign to raise awareness of the project to the various organizations and sports groups that will be utilizing this long-anticipated facility.  The urgency to help preserve Little Tokyo’s cultural heritage is highlighted as condominium complexes are being constructed next door and across the street from the future Budokan location, LTSC, and the Little Tokyo Public Library.


The Budokan Capital Campaign gains momentum as major funding from the city, state, and federal levels are awarded to the project.  Public and private foundations as well as key individual donors also show their support.

Annual fundraising events like BoLA-thon (a youth bowling tournament), San Tai San (3-on-3 basketball tournament) and the Budokan Golf Tournament gain popularity.  These events will continue past the conclusion of the capital campaign and will hopefully become a Budokan tradition.

Consul General

A grand achievement is celebrated as a long-term ground lease for the future Budokan site is approved by the Los Angeles City Council.  LTSC launches the Budokan Capital Campaign to cover the projected development and construction costs.

photo of Budokan's funding

Little Tokyo Rec Center is renamed Budokan of Los Angeles.  The Japanese word “budokan” literally translates to “martial arts hall” in English.  “Budo” meaning “the way of the warrior” embodies physical discipline, harmony, and respect, virtues that the Budokan of Los Angeles will represent.

Budokan of Los Angeles promises to preserve the cultural legacy of Little Tokyo by incorporating traditional Japanese values and customs.  This standard will serve to differentiate the Budokan from many other recreation and entertainment venues in Southern California.


Japanese American community groups hold a series of planning sessions and agree that a gymnasium could serve to maintain Little Tokyo’s cultural identity and stimulate the area’s economy.  A group of students expressed that a gym would definitely entice younger generation back to Little Tokyo.

In 1994, Little Tokyo Service Center is assigned the task to help identify a suitable site for this project.  For the next 5 years, LTSC explores 25 different sites in Downtown for the Little Tokyo Rec Center.

1970 drawing

A gym for Little Tokyo was originally included in the plans for the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.  However, plans for the single court gym were changed to the JACCC Plaza (designed by Isamu Noguchi).

In 1979, Little Tokyo Service Center is founded as a nonprofit organization that provides essential social services to seniors, families, and children who call Little Tokyo home.  Over the next 35 years, LTSC’s services have expanded both geographically and ethnically as the population of Downtown Los Angeles changes.


During the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the Nippon Budokan was built as the official competition venue for Judo.  The Japanese word “budokan” literally translates to “martial arts hall” in English.

Today, the Nippon Budokan continues to host Japan’s National Championship for judo, kendo, aikido, karate, naginata, etc. Nippon Budokan is also internationally known as a concert venue and the first rock group to perform there were the Beatles in 1966.

Ansel Adams photo of Manzanar

When Japanese American families living on the west coast were relocated to WWII internment camps, sports like basketball and volleyball were a necessary outlet for socializing and morale.

In the post-war years when Japanese American families returned home, they faced housing discrimination and social segregation.  Many JA organizations (usually associated with a church, club, or community center) were formed to provide stability and independence for the younger generations through sports.  These groups continue to be an endearing part of the Japanese American community to this day.


  • Dean Matsubayashi
    Dean Matsubayashi LTSC Executive Director
  • Alan Kosaka
    Alan Kosaka Terasaki Budokan Capital Campaign Chair
  • Mike Murase
    Mike Murase Terasaki Budokan Campaign Director
  • Chris Aihara
    Chris Aihara LTSC Director of Development
  • Scott Ito
    Scott Ito Terasaki Budokan Project Director
  • Kim Kawasaki
    Kim Kawasaki Terasaki Budokan Community Gifts Manager
  • Adina Mori-Holt
    Adina Mori-Holt Terasaki Budokan Development Assistant
  • Minako Shirai_Ferrante
    Minako Shirai_Ferrante LTSC Real Estate Project Manager