“Benkyodo: The Last Manju Shop in J-Town” and “Atomic Café”

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Film & Other Media

Sep 202310
2:00p.m. - 3:30p.m.

Tateuchi Democracy Forum
100 N Central Ave
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States

General: $16, Students/Seniors: $9, Members: FREE. Includes same-day general admission to JANM - SOLD OUT

Join us for the Los Angeles Premiere of Benkyodo: The Last Manju Shop in J-Town and a screening of ATOMIC CAFÉ: The Noisiest Corner in J-Town. Akira Boch and Tadashi Nakamura, the former and current directors of JANM’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, directed these two short documentaries that explore themes of gentrification, displacement, and community power with humor and heart.

About the films:

Directed by Akira Boch and Tadashi Nakamura

Ricky and Bobby Okamura, the current owners of Benkyodo mochi shop, make a difficult decision to close their family business. The Japanese pastry shop, a landmark for Japanese Americans and Asian Americans in the Bay Area, is one of two mochi shops currently open in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently 115 years old, the business has endured the anti-Asian laws of the early 20th century, Japanese incarceration, redevelopment of the 1960s, and San Francisco’s notorious high costs of living. The unsurmountable economic pressure, coupled with the brothers’ desire to preserve their Japanese heritage, family business, and community space, create an age-old conflict many children of diaspora face—preserving their culture or submitting to the economic forces of racial capitalism.

Directed by Akira Boch and Tadashi Nakamura
Presented by Little Tokyo Service Center

When the punk rock scene was exploding in Los Angeles during the late 1970s, an unlikely family-owned restaurant in Little Tokyo established by Japanese Americans returning from America’s World War II concentration camps, became one its most popular hangouts. That’s when Sansei “Atomic Nancy” with her “take-no-prisoners” punk makeup and demeanor took the café over from her parents and cranked up the jukebox. Infamous for its eclectic clientele—from Japanese American locals and kids from East LA to yakuza and the biggest rock stars of the day—the Atomic Café became an important part of LA’s punk rock history.


JANM . Last modified Sep 07, 2023 2:43 p.m.

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