For nearly a century, the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle has stood as an enduring symbol of the history of Japanese Americans in Los Angeles, and the deep roots they continue to share in the westside community of Sawtelle.

Established in 1925 by first-generation Japanese immigrants, JIS was built as a school to teach Japanese language and culture to their American-born offspring, and thereby preserve and promote their language and rich cultural heritage. The lot on which JIS is currently located was originally purchased in 1928 and saw the construction of the school’s four classrooms. The auditorium was subsequently added in 1940. JIS was closed with the advent of World War II, and the forced relocation of the Japanese population. The facility was actually used as the staging area where community residents were loaded onto the buses that took them to Manzanar.

(Photo: The Sawtelle Gakuin students gather around Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo in the JIS Auditorium in the 1930's.

Requests your help with a donation to Renovate our aging facilities!
We would be happy to personally describe our renovation and answer questions about how to make a donation.

We have different ways to donate and there are Naming Opportunities. Send us an email or a voice message and we shall respond promptly.

(424) 512-2110