In yet another unfortunate step towards the Korean-izing of Little Tokyo, Rich Alossi over at Angelenic reports that gigantonormous Japanese one-stop market shop, Mitsuwa, will close on January 25th. Mitsuwa sadly confirms this in awesome mistranslated English: “As of the 25th of January, Little Tokyo Store will close a business. We greatly appreciate your business and support for 24 years since 1985.” A 50% clearance sale is scheduled for the week before the closing, from Monday, January 19 to (sniff) Sunday, January 25.
Mitsuwa’s closing comes as an increasing number of Koreans are moving in, and immediately around, Little Tokyo. Capitalizing on this influx, Korean investors last year bought the Little Tokyo Shopping Center (which Mitsuwa anchors) with plans to turn it into a Korean-themed shopping center and mall. As Rich points out, “[W]ith changing demographics, increased outside investment and an aging population, the neighborhood that for decades had been the center of [Japanese-American] culture is now facing perhaps the biggest challenge to its identity in years.”
There is, of course, Mitsuwa over on Centinela (home of one of the best bowls of ramen this side of town, Santouka), but the loss of the Little Tokyo location sucks symbolically. The beginning of the end of Little Tokyo? I hope not.