Beloved Community Mural in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo Defaced by Graffiti

The "Home is Little Tokyo" mural after it was spray-painted by an unknown graffiti artist. (Photo credit: Adina Mori-Holt)

In October of 2005, twenty hand-painted wooden panels were framed and mounted onto the east-facing wall of Los Angeles Little Tokyo’s Japanese Village Plaza to form the “Home is Little Tokyo” community mural. Nearly three years in the making, the mural is truly a community project: commissioned by a large coalition of local residents, businesses, and service organizations, “Home is Little Tokyo” was designed by local artist Tony Osumi based on numerous ideas offered by the local Japanese American community. Each panel was lovingly painted by Osumi and fellow artists Sergio Diaz and Jorge Diaz, along with nearly 500 volunteers who worked together to contribute over 5000 volunteer hours during open painting days.

“It is our community mural,” says Kristin Fukushima, Managing Director of the Little Tokyo Community Council, which represents businesses, cultural groups, religious organizations, and other Little Tokyo stakeholders and which originally helped to fund the mural’s creation. Fukushima notes that the mural is one of the rare public art projects in Little Tokyo that underwent the democratic, consensus-building process characteristic of the community and its residents. “The mural is symbolic, inclusive, and broad, and it is reflective of the history of our neighborhood,” she says. “It tells our story in the ways that we want to tell our own story and our own history.”

The deep significance of the “Home is Little Tokyo” mural for the Little Tokyo community is why many were shocked, heartbroken, and devastated this week to find that an anonymous person had defaced the entire lower half of the mural with spray-painted graffiti in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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Teens Spray Anti-Asian Slurs in Vandalism Attack on NYC Cemetery

Three unidentified teenagers are caught on surveillance footage at the Cypress Hill Cemetery in NYC moments before a vandalism attack. (Photo credit: NYPD / YouTube)

Three unidentified teenagers were caught on surveillance camera this past week vandalizing headstones in a predominantly Asian and Asian American section of the Cypress Hill Cemetery, a 225-acre cemetery in Queens and Brooklyn, reports DNAinfo.

The teens spray-painted anti-Asian and Islamophobic slurs — including the phrases “ching chong” and “fuck Jackie Chan” — and approximately 70 headstones were knocked down and 15 mausoleum memorial plaques destroyed in the attack. According to DNAinfo, the cemetery houses several notable graves, including that of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu, who was killed in his patrol car along with his partner in 2014 in an apparently targeted attack against the NYPD.

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Vandal attacks Chinese lion statues outside Chinese-American Museum of Chicago

Guardian lions that were donated to the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago last year, and that were vandalized this month. Photo credit: CCAM
Guardian lions that were donated to the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago last year, and that were vandalized this month. Photo credit: CCAM

Why would anyone do this?

Two weeks ago, an unknown man took a hammer to two lion statues that stand outside of the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. Within a few minutes, he had knocked out a tooth in the mouth of each statue, before walking away.

The museum has released security camera footage of the man, which do not appear to show the man keeping the teeth as souvenirs. Instead, this seems to be pure — weirdly premeditated — vandalism.

Vandalism that is estimated to have cost $10,000 worth of damage.

(Photo of damage and security camera footage after the jump.)

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