Little Tokyo, or Little Tokyo Historic District, is an ethnically Japanese American district in downtown Los Angeles and the heart of the largest Japanese-American population in North America. It's the largest and most populous of only three official 'Japantowns' in the United States, all of which are in California.

Founded around the beginning of the 20th century, the area, sometimes called 'Lil' Tokyo' is the cultural center for Japanese Americans in Southern California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995.

In 1905 the area of "Little Tokyo" was described as a relatively small area. At its peak in the 30's, Little Tokyo had approximately 30,000 Japanese Americans living in the area. Little Tokyo is still a cultural focal point for Los Angeles's Japanese American population.

The incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II emptied Little Tokyo. For a brief time, the area was populated by several other cultures. After the war, due to lack of housing in Little Tokyo, many Japanese Americans returning from the camps moved into neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area of Los Angeles.

In the late 1970's, a redevelopment movement started as Japanese corporations expanded overseas operations and many of them set up their US headquarters in Los Angeles. Although this redevelopment resulted in many new buildings and shopping centers, there are still some of the original Little Tokyo buildings & restaurants.

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