Oiwake Restaurant in Little Tokyo hosted “OldSkool: Back in the Day,” a night of food and entertainment benefiting local disc jockey DJ Hideo and the Budokan of Los Angeles (BoLA). The event drew nearly 500 people and featured live bands and DJ sets. Proceeds estimated at $10,000 and will go towards DJ Hideo’s medical expenses as he battles colon cancer. A percentage will also benefit the BoLA (formerly the Little Tokyo Recreation Center), an upcoming sport and activities center to be located in Little Tokyo.
The event was organized with the aim of giving the Japanese American community “a big wake up call,” says Brian Okuhara, a co-organizer, “J-Town Los Angeles is only one of three historic Japantowns left in the United States. Growing up, Little Tokyo thrived in the Southland…but over the years that has diminished. We need to re-establish Little Tokyo’s identity and lay a cultural pathway for the next generation.”
The fundraiser highlighted two major causes in the Japanese American and Little Tokyo community: DJ Hideo’s battle with cancer and the Budokan of Los Angeles project.
DJ Hideo Sugano played a prominent role in the Los Angeles hip-hop scene for more than a decade. He has performed with major hip-hop artists and has DJ’d some of LA’s most popular hip-hop radio shows. In February, Sugano was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer, requiring surgery and chemotherapy treatments. The donation of $5,000 will help cover medication and bills.
$2,000 will benefit the BoLA project, which will be located on the west side of Los Angeles Street between Second and Third Streets. The sports and activities center will host major basketball, volleyball and martial arts tournaments, and will serve as a local community center for ongoing activities. “Since sports plays such an important part in the Japanese American community, we felt that a fundraiser for this project would be a perfect fit,” explained Okuhara.
“It’s exciting thinking about what the future could hold with these types of events”, said other co-organizer Mike Huey, “both for those in the community and for the rebuilding of Little Tokyo.”
For more information on the BoLA project, please visit www.budokanoflosangeles.org. BoLA is a project of LTSC Community Development Corporation, a non-profit community-based organization, which has been providing services for over 29 years to the greater Los Angeles community. Programs include but are not limited to: assistance for victims of domestic violence, support groups, child abuse and neglect outreach, emergency food and shelter assistance, affordable housing, and community redevelopment.