Yo Takagaki, 94; Real Estate Agent Developed Crenshaw Square

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich issued a statement on Wednesday on the passing of Yoshio Takagaki.

Takagaki, who was the developer of Crenshaw Square, passed away on Nov. 14. He was 94.

“Yo was a personal friend and supporter for over 30 years. He was a community leader who worked tirelessly for our youth. His passing represents a great loss for our community,” said Antonovich. “Christine and I send our heartfelt condolences to his daughters, Cathy and Judy, his son Richard and his four grandchildren.”

Born in Utah on Nov. 3, 1917, Takagaki married Mary Chiyo Kariya in 1942 and moved to Los Angeles after World War II. He went into real estate and, along with his three partners, developed Crenshaw Square in 1958. The first Oriental Summer Festival and Miss Sansei Pageant were held in the Crenshaw Square parking lot in 1962. The Miss Sansei Pageant would eventually develop into the Miss Nikkei Foundation of America.

Takagaki, along with author James Clavell, established The American Japanese National Literary Award, which was presented at the Miss Sansei Pageant each year.

He helped establish the charter for the Japanese American Republicans of Southern California and Japanese Americans for Ronald Reagan for Governor in 1968.

Takagaki is survived by his son, Richard Yoshio Takagaki; daughters, Judi Takagaki and Cathy (Gary) Yee of New York; grandchildren, Remy Sliskovich, Marc Aaron and Sarah Takagaki and Kyle Yee. A service will be held on Friday, Nov. 25, at 11 a.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church, 300 S. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo. Arrangements by Fukui Mortuary.

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