Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Little Tokyo's Mitsuwa Market mall SOLD!

I didn't think it would, but it makes me sad. Not because the new owners aren't Japanese ...but, just because. I spent a good part of my childhood running up and down those escalators at 'Yaohan Plaza.' And as the years passed, it was always a little painful to stop by and count the increasing number of empty storefronts.

The supermarket still remains my favorite place to shop. The place is huge. And at times, I'd be only one of five customers, but they still kept things in stock. They have the best candy-toy section in town, by far. I just hope Honda-ya sticks around.

According to the LA Times article, the shopping center was bought by Korean American investors for $35.5 million. They haven't settled on a plan but their ideas include a Korean market with Korean spas and stores in the adjoining retail space, or to have a mainstream American marketplace.


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10 comments:

pd said...

I'm sad about this, too - mostly because they're evicting all of the businesses that are currently there. :(

Inland Empirical said...

I miss Yaohan. Watching Back to the Future on the big screen televisions. Playing with the toys around the Godzilla statue with the flashing lights...
Very sad news.

Daily Gluttony said...

i read about this the other day and am so, so, SO bummed about this. i'm assuming mitsuwa's going away which totally sucks ass; like you said, many-a-time i was only 1 of 5 peeps in there, but that market never did me wrong. *sigh*

H. C. said...

Count me as another 1-of-5 who shops there (their market sushi and lunch boxes rock my socks!) But yea, it's sad to watch it decay over the years (like the Pasadena Mall before it became the Paseo).

But I am a little bit delighted (though guiltily) that I won't have to travel as far West for Korean. Hopefully whatever's coming up will be good.

Pete said...

I think is BS! They have their own little town off of Wilshire Blvd. Stay there! How the hell will they sell it and put Korean crap in Little Tokyo. WTF?!?!?!?! Every year we would have parties over there for new years. Peruvian Nissei... Ahhh back in the day... Anyways... Its BS. I want to fight back

Mas said...

I was shocked when I read this article. And after I got to the part where they said they were going to convert it to a completely Korean plaza or build a Ralphs (I think that's what it said). WOW I was HEATED. But at the same time I thought about it for a minute and realized that the only reason for this happening is because nobody goes there anymore. And I admit I am also a non-contributor to that plaza. I don't remember the last time that I went there. I mean all of Little Tokyo isn't really little Tokyo anymore anyway. Even Oiwake's, I went there I believe on a Saturday night and there was a stabbing in the bathroom. It's definitely not what it used to be so hey who knows it might even be for the better.

Anonymous said...

You can't hate the investors (who happen to be Korean). This place is really a dump and no one goes there anymore. It's such a great location with so much potential, but, if the previous owners were going to continue with their lack of investing to make the place better, why not give it up to someone else who is willing to try and turn it around. Little Tokyo's main problem in trying to keep the heritage alive is the lack of effort from the Japanese community. It's great there are lots of old school stores as well as the Japenese American Museum, but, if you compare it to Koreatown, it's really tiny and dead. Koreatown has miles of Korean restaurants and nightlife which Little Tokyo is missing. Who knows what will happen but my vote is anything to the Plaza will be better than what it is now.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed sad that Little Tokyo is losing ground. I'm Korean, and don't think it's cool that Little Tokyo is losing its identity. On the Koreatown thing, Koreatown may be bustling, but it's got a lot of drama. If you've never been there at night, it's not uncommon for fistfights and other riff raffy things to occur. Koreatown is full of corruption, most of the businesses nor nightclubs rarely go by the book. Even though I'm Korean, this decadent lifestyle will lead to the demise of Korean youths. I don't enjoy exposing the ugly truth about Koreans, but I do this because I think it's unfortunate that J-town may diminish, and these Korean establishments may attract the aforementioned ugly traits of K-town.

I think we Koreans are analagous to Jews, we have this innate business instinct. And I often see offensive comments on the internet by JA's (I'm assuming) on how they disdain "counterfeit" sushi restaurants run by Koreans. Well, this is what I have to say: if you don't like these "fake sushi" bars, then don't patronize them. I mean come on, they talk about how they charge for green tea and serve rice in a white bowl whereas the genuine Japanese sushi bars don't, so it's obvious you've been to one before. I know what gets under Japanese people's skin, the fact that Koreans try to act like sushi is culturally theirs. I know it isn't true.

Know one thing about Koreans, we (with the exception of me) are short-sighted people. We look for a rising star, but as soon as it burns out, we abruptly lose passion for it. In other words, Koreans like to make a quick buck, we're not as concerned about perpetuating tradition, nor nostalgia especially.

Yeah...I don't think we need another "satellite K-town" to replace Little Tokyo.

Anonymous said...

'anonymous' sounds just like all those japanese that go around 'pretending' theyre korean on online forums and blogs. koreans are jews? good job for offending two different races.i doubt youre korean.anyway! there are plenty of japanese shops and culture near Sawtelle and Gardena and Torrance. many many Mitsuwas. that particular branch didnt do too well. so what? life goes on.there are still plenty of Japanese culture in Little Tokyo . Just go to one of their festivals.duh~

H said...

They have turned Mitsuwa into a Korean market. I hate to say this but in 10 years little tokyo would be more like little Seoul. This is a loss to the community. One in San Franciso is almost defunct. While there are many Korean towns in California, little tokyo is the only one that can be called Japanese town.