Okano Brothers Store Closing Out Evacuation Sale

Customers enter the Okano Brothers Cut Rate Store at 414 East 1st Street in Los Angeles. 30,000 Japanese Americans lived in the "Little Tokyo" neighborhood prior to the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. The Okanos, like most of the residents of Little Tokyo, were sent to Manzanar War Relocation Center. Their business was likely bought by a speculator at a huge loss. After the war, many residents did not move back; the Japanese American population relocated to Boyle Heights. Many African Americans lived in the area until the 1950s, attracted by employment in nearby factories. They called the neighborhood "Bronzeville." By October 1943, African American businessmen formed the Bronzeville Chamber of Commerce and declared that the area was no longer Little Tokyo. By 1946, the internees returned, and the African Americans left after the war work dried up; the neighborhood housed a diverse ethnic community. Further migration, characteristic of the postwar United States, led many Japanese Americans to move to the suburbs. Around 1,000 Japanese Americans still live in the historic district, but it remains a focal point for the Japanese American community in California and across the United States.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Library of Congress
Date Photographed: 
Wednesday, April 1, 1942
Los Angeles
United States