Terasaki Family Foundation Gives LTSC $3.5 Million Gift to Build Budokan - Little Tokyo Service Center

Terasaki Family Foundation Gives LTSC $3.5 Million Gift to Build Budokan

Terasaki Family Foundation Gives LTSC $3.5 Million Gift to Build Budokan

Terasaki Budokan staff taking a picture for Budookan Gift

Front row from left: Paul Terasaki, Keith Terasaki, Hisako Terasaki, Cecilia Terasaki. Back row from left: Alan Nishio (Chairperson, LTSC Board of Governors), Debra Nakatomi (President, LTSC Board of Directors), Yuko Uyesugi, George Uyesugi, Dean Matsubayashi (LTSC Executive Director).

Little Tokyo Service Center announced a $3.5 million gift from the Terasaki Family Foundation in support of LTSC’s campaign to build Budokan of Los Angeles. Once constructed, Budokan will serve as a multipurpose sports facility and community center in downtown LA’s Little Tokyo, as well as a catalyst for revitalizing the historic neighborhood.

The gift from the Terasaki Family Foundation, formed by the late organ transplant pioneer and philanthropist Paul I. Terasaki, provides a critical lift to LTSC’s fundraising effort. Including the $3.5 million contribution, the campaign has now raised over $23 million or 90% of the projected capital costs to begin construction. In appreciation of the Terasaki Family Foundation’s gift, Budokan will be named “Paul I. Terasaki Budokan” in tribute to Dr. Terasaki.

“We are so grateful for the generous support of the Terasaki family,” said Dean Matsubayashi, executive director of Little Tokyo Service Center. “We are entering a pivotal stage in our fundraising and are confident this contribution will inspire others to help us reach our goal before the start of construction this summer.”

Once LTSC has successfully covered construction capital costs for Budokan, it will shift into phase two of its fundraising, an endowment campaign necessary to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the facility. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for August of this year.

“This very significant gift from the Terasaki Family Foundation brings us very close to completing the capital campaign,” explained LTSC Board President Debra Nakatomi. “It will be a big boost, not only for this project, but for Little Tokyo Service Center and the Little Tokyo community as a whole.”

“We are happy to see Budokan named after my father,” said Dr. Terasaki’s son Keith. “He was proud to be a Japanese American and he wanted the Japanese American community to prosper. As Japanese American families are spread all over the Southland, the Terasaki Budokan will provide Little Tokyo with a place where all generations can visit and feel like we belong.”

A renowned scientist, Dr. Terasaki is best known for inventing a tissue-typing test that became the international standard for matching transplant surgery donors with recipients. Terasaki also generously supported his alma mater UCLA, scholarship, international affairs and the Japanese American community.

LTSC’s announcement was made before a small gathering at the home of George and Yuko Uyesugi, generous supporters of the Budokan project.


Little Tokyo Service Center is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for more than 35 years. We preserve and strengthen the unique ethnic communities of our region and help people thrive. Starting with our own home in Little Tokyo, we build and strengthen communities throughout Southern California where people, culture and our collective future matters.

Terasaki Budokan front building for Budokan Gift

Lincoln Brown Illustration


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