The Project

The Japantown Mural Project is a celebration of the vibrancy of San Jose's historic Japantown neighborhood through artworks by 50 local artists. The environment is a barren, undeveloped plot of land that once served as the City of San Jose's Maintenance Yard. Chain-link fencing is now covered with more than 60 large mesh panels of color. It stretches a quarter of a city block along 6th and Jackson Streets in the heart of Japantown.

The subject matter is highly interpretive, including personal and commissioned works, and encompasses a wide variety of mediums and aesthetics. It also includes references to the site's former life; 100 years ago, it was one of San Jose's very first Chinatown settlements known as 'Heinlenville.' A majority of the artists maintain art studios in Japantown, have displayed their artwork in neighborhood galleries, or consider this wonderful place their home.

The Japantown Mural Project is truly representative of its own unique community and will be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

Hanbok Series

Hanbok Series

by Jennifer Ahn

Jennifer Ahn

The Artwork
"Hanbok" is a Korean word for the traditional dress that is worn by women.

This portrait is of my sister wearing my grandmother's original custom-made Hanbok. This series is in conjunction with another series I've been working on called "The American Dream."

My parents immigrated here just before I was born. The expectation of a fruitful life in the United States wasn't reality for many years. Both my parents had to start from ground up and not being able to speak English made it much more difficult. I appreciate everything my parents did to make a great life for my sister and I. As American as I am, my parents made sure to teach me the traditions of my culture and I am so thankful for it.

I graduated from San Jose State University back in 2000. I originally went to study Graphic Design but decided to focus on Photography. I didn't realize until my later years that my great grandfather did photography as a hobby and even had his own darkroom.

The last couple years my focus has been on painting but I always refer back to photographs to help me create my pieces.

My sister and I share a darkroom at Empire Seven Studios. With this day in age of technology, I still like to process my own film and print my own photographs with the smell of chemicals that reside in my darkroom.

Sponsored By

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · Office of the Consulate General of Japan · Wesley United Methodist Church
Jack's Bar & Lounge · Dr. Stephani Nguyen of Japantown Dental · Kay's Shiseido · Dr. Jerrold Hiura & Lucia Cha

Contemporary Asian Theater Scene · Japantown Neighborhood Association · Union Bank of California · Chris & Minako Tsuji

Japanese American Museum of San Jose · Yu Ai Kai Senior Center · Banana Crepe · Halcrow Partners · Pan Pacific Bank · Alex Alsorady & Darcie Kiyan
Sophie Horiuchi Forrester · Helen Hayashi · Roy & PJ Hirabayashi · Aggie Idemoto · Reiko Iwanaga · Jeanne Katsuro · Tamon Norimoto · Kristin Okimoto
Jeffrey Oldham · John Ristow · Rev. Gerald & Kathy Sakamoto · Victoria Taketa · Leah Toeniskoetter · Joe Yasutake

With Thanks

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · The City of San Jose Arts Commission · Dr. Jerrold Hiura · The Rast Family
Corinne Okada Takara · Ruth Tunstall-Grant · Cherri Lakey · DJ Ashford
Empire Seven Studios · The Arsenal · Sign-a-Rama of Downtown San Jose

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