PRESS RELEASE                
for immediate release
September 16, 2005


EVENT:
San Jose Japantown Landmark and Ikoi No Ba ceremony, ; reception following.


FROM:

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose (JCCsj)
588 North Fourth Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone (408) 298.4303
Email: sanjosejtown@sbcglobal.net

 

 

When:  Saturday, October 22, 2005, 2pm
 

Where: Issei Memorial Building, 565 N 5th Street
Japantown San Jose (between Jackson and Empire on
6th Street)



 

Invitation (event is open to the public)

Please join us in celebrating the public unveiling of the 3-Japantown landmark and witnessing progress toward the completion of the Ikoi No Ba projects by joining us on Saturday, October 22 at 2:00p.m. at the Issei Memorial Building (IMB) in San Jose Japantown.  The IMB is located near the intersection of Fifth and Jackson Streets.  For more information regarding the ceremony, please contact Kenzo Kimura at 408-476-2166.

 

Description and Background Information

The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP) began in 1999 when then State Assemblymember  Mike Honda  sponsored AB 1914 and AB 1915 to provide competitive grants for public educational activities.  This was followed in 2001 by Senate Bill 307 (SB 307),introduced by Senator John Vasconcellos and signed by then Governor Gray Davis as a pilot project for the preservation of historic ethnic neighborhoods and districts. Subsequently, community representatives from California’s three remaining Japantowns in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose worked together to secure funding from Proposition 40, passed by California voters in March 2002to fund improvement projects that preserve the Japantown legacy.

 

Representatives of the three Japantowns met to create a definition that could be used for cultural preservation at the state level and to identify needs and projects for cultural preservation and related capital improvement projects.  On Saturday, October 22, there will be an  official public celebration of the installation of one of these projects, the  San Jose Japantown Landmark The artistic team of Lou Quaintance and Eugene Daub from Berkeley were selected to create the landmark, and noted poet Janice Mirikitani wrote a poem inscribed on  the sculpture. The  San Jose Japantown Landmark is located in the front garden of the historic Issei Memorial Building (IMB)  The IMB itself is designated as an historic landmark by the City of San Jose, which makes the site a natural selection as the home for the landmark.  This nine foot tall three-sided bronze sculpture is one of three similar monuments to be erected also in Los Angeles and San Francisco, providing a unifying element to the three remaining Japantowns in the United States. The three faces of the sculpture depict three themes: the Issei (first generation) experience, the internment period, and a celebration of the unique cultural aspects of the Japantown communities.

 

Another project researched by representatives of the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose (JCCsj) has been  the development of a series of culturally sensitive and historically accurate resting sites  called ‘Ikoi no Ba.’ Five of these sites, each with their own unique thematic elements and unified by such common elements as integrated seating areas, wood, stone and trees, are being developed. The first of these to reach construction phase is the one located in front of the IMB and is being incorporated with the monument.  While completion of this ‘Ikoi No Ba” will not be completed by October 22, attendees to the event will be able to see noticeable progress on this project as well.

Although the Landmark and Ikoi no Ba projects were developed separately, they will be incorporated together in front of the IMB so that the general public can enjoy both.  The Ikoi No Ba space will be fashioned using a simple bench design  reminiscent of those used in the internment camps. A metal replica of the Executive Order 9066 evacuation decree will be nailed to a utility pole and the  space will flow from the seating area to the monument in a walk around treatment,  allowing 360 degree viewing of the Landmark sculpture.  Strategic placement of boulders will also be part of the design.

 

The location of the San Jose Japantown Landmark on private property is unique among the three Japantowns. The San Jose Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (SJ JACL) will accept ownership and long-term maintenance of both the Landmark and Ikoi no Ba on behalf of the Japantown community, as it has with the IMB. 

 

For more information regarding the ceremony, please contact Kenzo Kimura at 408-476-2166.