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.

Noodle Sipper

Noodle Sipper

by Corinne Okada Takara

Corinne Okada Takara

The Artwork
'Noodle Sipper' incorporates pattern designs created from images of actual local artifacts (Japanese porcelain bowl and cow bones) dug up in an archeological excavation behind the mural fence. The cow bone slices are examples of how Chinese re-cut Western meats smaller to incorporate into Chinese cooking. Many fragments of both porcelain and re-cut cow bone were found at the dig site and were graciously loaned by Sonoma State Anthropological Studies Center to be photographed for this mural design.

Noodle Sipper metaphorically bridges the past with the present and brings early Nihomachi and Heinlenville Chinatown artifacts to life in a modern day context. The girl is dressed in clothing of today and is blowing on a bowl of soup. The bowl in her hand is the pieced together bowl from the bowl artifact fragment in the pattern behind her. The soup she is cooling contains beef broth and it is echoed in the cow bone artifact pattern visible in both the steam and in the child as she drinks it. The steam itself is a connection to the past as it references the incense burned to honor and remember ancestors. On this steam are floating objects representing the life of this community past and present.

Corinne Okada Takara is an exhibiting artist and arts educator based in Cupertino, California. Takara's work examines patterns in the seemingly mundane artifacts of daily life and how these merge to reflect shifting visual vocabularies of rapidly changing communities. In her sculptural work, she blends precious fabrics, rice bags and simple discards such as food wrappers to bring to light the cascade of cultures people experienced through the sharing of food, clothing, and myths. Her large sculptures grace numerous hospitals such as Boston Children’s Hospital, John Muir Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente in California.

Since 2008, Takara has focused on designing collaborative art projects that bring people together in virtual and public spaces. She has been recognized for her technology integrated youth projects with the 2010 KCI Rambus Innovation Award, Donor Circle for the Arts Grants from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (2011 and 2012), and with a 2011 Target Arts Grant for Remix & Reflect. Takara was honored as one of the nation's top 100 innovative K-12 educators for the You Are Here Street Banner Project in the 2011 Microsoft National Innovative Education Forum.

Takara has explored digital pattern design and textile databases as an artist-in-residence at de Young Museum, Rhythms in Space (2008-2009), in the collaborative art experiments fusionwearsv, and in the above mentioned You Are Here Street Banner Project. She had instructed art at schools and museums throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and has instructed visual thinking classes at Stanford University. In March of 2011, Takara was an invited speaker at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in the Architecture Department and assisted in the workshops series Urban Tools.

Takara is a graduate of Stanford University’s Art Design program and is a graduate of the Krause Center for Innovation's MERIT program.

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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