Organization and community: Little Tokyo Service Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Derived from the Japanese words takara (treasure) + chizu (map), Takachizu is Little Tokyo Service Center’s community asset mapping project that identifies and reflects on that which is most valuable, celebrated, and in need of protection in Little Tokyo. Takachizu is a project of Sustainable Little Tokyo initiated by Little Tokyo Service Center’s +LAB. Community members, who included an intergenerational selection of residents, business owners, and shoppers, were invited to share items of historical and personal significance to add to an evolving temporary exhibition. More than 149 treasures were identified, including: 42 historic businesses, four theaters, 11 religious institutions, and five museums. Gathered treasures provided guidance and focus to a multi-year planning initiative of the Little Tokyo Service Center and Sustainable Little Tokyo. Partners on the project included Visual Communications, Zenshuji Soto Mission, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development, KCRW radio, and more. The project lives on in the form of zines on topics ranging from the history of First Street North, to ghost stories about Little Tokyo, and an online archive.

Takachizu was created by artists Rosten Woo and Maya Santos working with +LAB. The outreach and documentation work was budgeted into the project to create standard and fair wages for artistic labor and engagement work (photographers were paid $100-150 an hour).