Hidden Asian Histories of San Jose: Japantown
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Submitted by the Event Organizer
San Jose Japantown, once called Chinatown, is one of three in the country that survives, now threatened by development and gentrification. Throughout its more than 130-year history, San Jose Japantown has been home to several immigrant communities including Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino.
What started as a quest for Izu and Hayase to preserve the stories, sounds, and images of Japantown, turned into a community art project using augmented reality to make history visible to the masses. Tamiko Thiel, an internationally-acclaimed augmented reality artist, and her husband, engineer and artist Peter Graf, designed an app that allows visitors to use their mobile phones to see art images overlaying places in the neighborhood. The project, titled “Hidden Histories of Japantown,” debuted June 2021, and includes nine art installations produced by specially-selected local artists from diverse backgrounds.