Japantown Atlas - Southern California - Sawtelle (West Los Angeles)

Map: 2000 block of Sawtelle Boulevard (unspecified post-World War II period)

Business data courtesy of Preserving California's Japantown, based on map compiled by RGS in 1999.


Sawtelle District was a section of Los Angeles County between Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Culver City. It was incorporated in 1928 or so as the city of West Los Angeles.

The main shopping district was located along Santa Monica Boulevard, however the section we are interested in is a short, 1-block section of Sawtelle Boulevard between LaGrange and Mississippi Aves., which was the heart of Sawtelle's Japanese American community both before and after World War II. There was a large Japanese American presence in Sawtelle going back as far as the 1920s, especially nurseries serving the rapidly growing high-end suburbs of Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and Bel Air. Many Nikkei returned after the internment.

We are still confirming our sources; the businesses we've mapped along Sawtelle Boulevard may be from the post-World War II period, or a mix of pre- and post-war places.
We've added some pre-war places from the Sanborn maps and Preserving California's Japantown's Sawtelle history pages. The Sanborn map is dated 1946, which is soon enough after WWII that a lot of Japanese American pre-war sites had not been eradicated. The Sanborns may not show the exact buildings occupied by the businesses in question, and the neighborhood is a lot more built-up today than you see here. Note the southernmost street on the detailed map (under the compass rose) is Olympic Boulevard.

Preserving California's Japantowns website has an excellent history of Sawtelle with photos and descriptions of the Christian and Buddhist churches, Hashimoto Nursery, Pacific Rose Co., and several other historic sites.

Another source of information is a recent Arcadia book on Sawtelle's Japanese American Community.

Visit http://www.sawtelleblvd.com/ for links and information on current shops and restaurants.

Posted 3/9/08