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.

Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi Dolls

by Tamiko Rast

Tamiko Rast

The Artwork
When I was a child, I admired the many types of wooden kokeshi dolls found at Jackson Street gift shops like Kogura Trading Company and Nichi Bei Bussan. I was always told, "Look with your eyes, not with your hands..."

Tamiko Rast is San Jose born and raised, having spent part of her childhood running around her grandfather Roy's Mobil gas station in Japantown. She has fond memories of jumping up and down on the bell line that cars crossed, dinging to signal their arrival at the station...until Grandpa told her and her siblings to quit it.

She's lived and worked in the neighborhood for several years, appreciating the histories and personalities of the place her great-grandparents once settled. She and her brother, Miles Rast, have run the web and graphic design company, Rasteroids, for over 12 years. Her family converted Grandpa Roy's gas station into a coffee and tea shop, now known as 'Roy's Station,' which is operated by her parents and sister, Jasmine. She can often be found at or around Roy's with several of her parrots in tow.

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

site by rasteroids design