It is also said, besides the greediness, there is a lack of trust between the Japanese-Americans. Supposedly it is a problem that stems for the internment camp experience. I hear a lot about Chinese and Korean business people who bring their money together and help new businesses out, but I don't hear about Japanese Americans doing that.
And then there is also the problem of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans not seeing eye to eye.
The Little Tokyo Business Association was started and run by Japanese Americans, but they never invite the new Japanese businesses to their meetings. So the Japanese businesses have their own organization. Who knows, maybe the Japanese businesses wouldn't go even if they were invited. But it is just another frustating factor, that I'm sure looks like it doesn't make sense from the outside.
At this moment, I'd have to say, I can't necessarily blindly trust Japanese Americans either. I'm not sure if it's prudent to blindly trust anyone, but I'd say, JA's won't hesitate to burn another JA. There's nothing special about being a JA, that makes people be better to you, or not. And as far as the JA vs Japanese national, yeah, definitely there's little going on in the handshaking. It's two separate worlds.
Trying to place blame among an ethnic enclave is just plain arrogant and ignorant and smacks of elitistim. This outlook simply fails at basic business sense.
They should look around. Perhaps their drop in business relates directly to the drop in the Japanese American population.
From the 1990 to the 2000 census those identified themselves as Japanese dropped by 6%. That was the only Asian ethnic group to be in decline. This trend looks like it will continue as less Japanese immigration and more mixed-Japanese couples continue to grow.
Another factor may be that there are more 4th and 5th generation Americans of Japanese ethnicity that view themselves as fully acclimated into American society. This demographic may see little social need nor business sense to brand themselves within an ethnic enclave. Particularly within one that is literally dying off each day.
For comparison, in LA county you can look at the drop in the black population and black businesses compared to latino and asian populations and businesses.
There are 50% more asians in LA than blacks and that separation is growing. Along with that growth is competition for land/businesses.
This next census will also have a built-in real estate 'fraud-bubble' as well as soaring energy costs. In a sprawling city/county like LA how much premium was there and will there be for living closer to work? How much will this commute-cost further change ethnocentric enclaves?
How much of an effect will these gas prices have on housing/businesses near our rail system? J-Town will soon have its own gold-line extension. What new opportunies will follow?
I don't how elitism comes into play, but beyond that, I agree on a lot of points there, except for the fact that I've made every effort to do things, and I often get burned by other Japanese Americans. I've put up the money and the mouth, and at the same time, it's not green or loud enough. I'd say that how things are changing makes clear and clean business sense from my point of view. What do you do when someone comes and offers to buy out a failing business for a lot of money and the second best offer is a far distant second place? You'll go with the higher one regardless of who it is and what they intend to do. But what if, the second place is very close or the same with the promise of keeping up the neighborhood, or area? You'd think no brainer go with the second one that's close, but that doesn't necessarily happen, and I don't know why. Is it back to the first comment that there's a lack of trust between JAs? It's true that JA's are often 5th generation or more, and they move to the suburbs and disappear, especially after marriage, etc. That's why I do think in this case, especially Little Tokyo and even Sawtelle, it's just where the money's at. If it's Korean markets etc, then that's how it goes. There's no fault, it's just how the economy is changing. Is it sad? Yes, but until people put up the money and support the businesses that are there, it won't work.
I didn't know this was going on - thanks for the heads up. It's great that you don't shy away from the controversial topics on your blog and I actually expected a little more noise on the comments. :-)
Not to be a smart ass or insensitive, but could one reason be that 3rd, 4th, 5th generations of Japanese Americans are marrying outside their race. The Japanese-American identity may be disappearing or being diluted much in the same way Little Tokyo is. America has been a melting pot for decades so this not anything new. How many 4th or 5th generation 100% Irish or Polish Americans do you know?
This could be true as well. Does this mean that Koreatown in LA will shrink away in about 50 years? It's hard to fathom, but if we're to believe what you're saying, then that'll happen as well. Or will LA become one big Korea town first before this can happen. I think for that to happen, we'll need more immigrants and that'll have to not change. We'll need tons more first generation Koreans in the next 50 years for all of the businesses to keep on going. That's a lot of businesses and it follows the census pattern mentioned above. Asians are on a rise. I assume that includes Koreans.