Above and below: Participants in last year’s service. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)
SANTA MONICA — Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, marks the 60th year that Japanese American communities on Los Angeles’ west side have gathered at the Ireito (memorial tower) at Woodlawn Cemetery to honor the area’s Issei pioneers and Nisei soldiers who died in World War II and the Korean War.
Since 1959, this special memorial service has been hosted in rotation by Santa Monica Nikkeijin Kai, Venice Japanese Community Center and West Los Angeles Japanese Institute of Sawtelle.
Beginning this year, West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple will host the service, with Venice Free Methodist Church, Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, West Los Angeles Holiness Church, and West Los Angeles United Methodist Church also joining the rotation in coming years.
The combined Buddhist and Christian service will start at 9 a.m. Clergy and representatives from all of the community churches and temples will conduct the service in English and Japanese. Woodlawn Cemetery is located on the corner of 14th Street and Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica.