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Eric Nakamura Named Sawtelle ‘Neighborhood Hero’

The summer edition of Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin’s newsletter includes Eric Nakamura on a list of “Neighborhood Heroes.”

“Eric Nakamura is a lot like the Sawtelle Japantown neighborhood he calls home — dynamic, creative, and proud of his Japanese heritage and the way it has shaped West L.A.,” the profile reads.

“Eric is a magazine publisher, gallerist, and entrepreneur. In 1994, at 22 years old, Eric created a print zine which he named ‘Giant Robot.’ Giant Robot is a mix of different subcultures, including punk music and Asian American culture, featuring them in the different contexts of history, art, film, music and more. In the process of merging different cultures together, Eric created his own culture.

“The Giant Robot Store, established in 2001, is often referred to as the birthplace for Asian pop culture products. The gallery features different art exhibitions by notable artists, and the Sawtelle-Japantown institutions are committed to zine art and culture.

“Giant Robot has become a staple in Asian American alternative pop culture and Eric’s contributions to making the Sawtelle Japantown and West L.A. neighborhoods better places to live and enjoy continue.”

Nakamura was quoted as saying, “As a lifelong Westsider, I love the diversity of cultures in our neighborhoods.”

Nakamura commented on his blog, “This is a crazy honor, but first thing I’d say is that there are plenty of heroes in the Sawtelle area and they’re not visible. They’re behind the scenes making things work better. There’s been an ongoing joke by many that I’m the ‘mayor of Sawtelle’ and I’ve never wanted that title. I’d rather be behind the scenes. Hopefully, I’ll get there one day.”

The other Neighorhood Heroes are Lorraine Wells (Mar Vista), Gregorio Rojas (Playa Vista), Jackie Raymond (Brentwood), Sunny Back (Venice), Marlene Savage (Del Rey), Kaylie Judkins (Westchester), David Peterson (Pacific Palisades), and Jeanne Moody (Playa del Rey).

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