Rafu Shimpo

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The Rafu Shimpo
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Los Angeles News Publishing Co.
PublisherMichael M. Komai
EditorGwen Muranaka (English), Takashi Ishihara (Japanese)
LanguageJapanese / English
Headquarters701 E. Third Street, Suite 130
Los Angeles, CA 90013
United States

The Rafu Shimpo (羅府新報, Rafu Shinpō) is a Japanese-English language newspaper based in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California.

The paper began in 1903 as a one-page, mimeographed Japanese-language newspaper produced by Rippo Iijima, Masaharu Yamaguchi, and Seijiro Shibuya. H. T. Komai became publisher in 1922, beginning a family dynasty. He was succeeded by son Akira and grandson Michael.[1] The name of the newspaper essentially translates as "Los Angeles area newspaper" ("ra" abbreviated from "rashogiri", said to be a Chinese name for Los Angeles, "fu" meaning "prefecture", and "shinpo", a term for newspaper).[2]

Togo Tanaka, the editor of the paper's English language section, appealed unsuccessfully to the United States government to allow the paper to continue printing in the event of war with Japan, and oversaw the paper's last edition before he was sent to the Manzanar internment camp.[3]

The paper ceased publication in 1942 due to the Japanese American Internment. It was revived in 1946, due to Akira Komai's foresight and the loyalty of his employees. Komai had arranged for the paper's rent to be paid during the war and hid the Japanese type under the floorboards.[1]

In March 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that The Rafu Shimpo was losing circulation and money, and was the target of community drives hoping to save the newspaper from going out of business.[4] On March 25, 2016, publisher Michael Komai released an "open letter" stating that the paper had lost $750,000 over the past three years, was projected to lose $350,000 in 2016, and would have to close at the end of the year unless its finances improved.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Yokoi, Iris (September 19, 1993), "LITTLE TOKYO - Extra! Extra! Rafu Shimpo Is 90", The Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ Gil Asakawa (2015). Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa ... & Their Friends. Stone Bridge Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-61172-022-8. See also "Honoring the 100th Anniversary of the Rafu Shimpo, a speech of U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard in the Congressional Record, October 10, 2003, p. 24437.
  3. ^ Woo, Elaine. "Togo W. Tanaka dies at 93; journalist documented life at Manzanar internment camp", Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2009. Accessed July 7, 2009.
  4. ^ Teresa Watanabe, "L.A.'s Little Tokyo looks to save struggling newspaper", Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Michael Komai, "The State of The Rafu Shimpo: An Open Letter from the Publisher", Rafu Shimpo, March 25, 2016.

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