What’s the Significance of Terasaki Budokan’s San Tai San Basketball Tournament? - Little Tokyo Service Center

What’s the Significance of Terasaki Budokan’s San Tai San Basketball Tournament?


What’s the Significance of Terasaki Budokan’s San Tai San Basketball Tournament?

Roughly a year has passed since Terasaki Budokan’s Grand Opening. With the community center and sports facility fully operational and open to the public with daily classes, activities and events, the efforts of Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) and countless community supporters over the last 30 years to build the facility are finally paying off. 

Budokan was initially born out of LTSC’s vision to build a community space to serve youth, seniors and families while offering visitors opportunities to connect with Japanese American cultural heritage. More to that point, Budokan honors the Japanese American community that fought for generations, and continues to fight, for access to spaces and opportunities that were previously denied through exclusionary government tactics and policies, such as the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.

Events like the recent San Tai San “3-on-3” Basketball Tournament seek to fulfill Budokan’s mission and honor these legacies, with this event in particular marking a meaningful milestone for LTSC and the community members who have followed us through Budokan’s journey.

On March 11, 68 teams and over 750 attendees from across LA County gathered at Budokan for the free, co-ed, all ages event, generously sponsored by LA84 and Pocari Sweat​​. But in spite of this being Budokan’s first time hosting the event at the facility, it was not San Tai San’s first iteration. The humble origins of San Tai San date back to the early 2000s when players took to the streets of Little Tokyo as part of Budokan’s capital campaign fundraiser to build a home court where community events like the tournament could take place. As such, this month’s event was a significant full-circle moment for the facility, as well as those who contributed to making the dream into a reality.

With similar events slated for the future on top of ongoing recreational activities, Budokan will continue to strengthen community ties, both within Little Tokyo and beyond.

One player’s mother, Debrah Nishihira, shared, “My husband, who is Japanese, grew up with basketball in Torrance. He used to coach two boys teams when he was younger, and now that he’s in his 30s, he still gets those teams together to play. One of those kids he coached is now our son’s coach. We like to support our community and we want our kids to grow up giving back, like our generation and the generations before us did.”

Find your community at Budokan’s free events like our upcoming Kibō Nobori Children’s Day Festival on May 6, or visit our website where you can register for Budokan’s diverse class offerings and activities.

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