PLUM Committee Hearing on Sakai-Kozawa Residence and Tokio Florist Sign Next Week

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The Tokio Florist sign can still be seen at 2718 Hyperion Ave. in Silver Lake. The business closed in 2006. (Little Tokyo Historical Society)

The Historic-Cultural Monument nomination of the Sakai-Kozawa residence and Tokio Florist pole sign is on the agenda of the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at approximately 2:30 p.m. at City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles.

The hearing will be held in the John Ferraro Council Chamber, Room 340.

The nomination seeks the inclusion of the former Tokio Florist site at 2718 N. Hyperion Ave. in Silver Lake on the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments.

“We hope you can attend the hearing and/or submit your written comments of support in writing by email to [email protected],” said Mike Okamura of the Little Tokyo Historical Society. “We are not sure if we are permitted to make a public comment of support at the hearing, however.”

In 1929, recently widowed Yuki (Kawakami) Sakai, with five children to support, opened Tokio Florist on Los Feliz Boulevard, across the street from the Brown Derby. The business succeeded despite the Alien Land Law and the Depression. With the outbreak of WWII and the incarceration of Japanese Americans, the Sakais stored their belongings at their Sun Valley flower ranch and asked a neighbor to take care of the store.

Re-established after the war, Tokio Florist was displaced by apartment towers but reopened less than a mile away. From 1960 to 2006, 2718 Hyperion Ave. was the site of Tokio Florist as well as the residence of Yuki, daughter Sumi and son-in-law Frank. Flowers were grown in the back, where there was also a Japanese garden.

Though the business has been closed for 13 years, its iconic sign still stands. The monument nomination was submitted by LTHS, which cited Tokio Florist as an example of the economic contributions of Japanese Americans, particularly women, and of a multigenerational Japanese American residence and family-owned business.

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