The Japanese in Broome

THE JAPANESE IN BROOME - Chinatown Broome Public Art

Tomoko Yamada is a Japanese born artist, based in Broome WA. She was responsible for the concept and design of the Japanese themed public art at Napier Terrace for the Chinatown Broome Revitalisation Project.

Broome has a strong Japanese influence dating back to 1880’s - Pearl Shelling, WWII, Internees, Air Raid and Cultured Pearl, during period of White Australian Policy.

“Chinatown” was once known as “Japtown”. Napier Terrace is the Japanese heritage of Broome, where Japanese lived and traded business. General merchandise stores, laundry shops, doctors, pearl divers, carpenters, boatbuilders, financiers, taxi drivers, restaurants, opium dens, tombstone carvers at Shiba Lane, and “The Japanese Club” all contributed to the Japanese influence and the colourful, unique characters of Broome.

Highlighting Japanese annual event Obon in August fullmoon to pay homage to ancestor’s spirits return to this world in order to visit relatives. This is an important role for Broome Japanese community and it is strong part of concept body at the beginning of Shinju Matsuri. Broome Japanese community is still inheriting this tradition and spiritual culture. The design on Napier Terrace, the traditionally inspired Japanese patterns, using temple or Shrine for filigree building parts and kimono textiles, interweaving design of spirits by traditional Japanese culture, and each design is meaningful.

The pillars are lit up at night, colours flowing quietly, as remains Japanese tradition, as connected to their spirits.

“The Japanese in Broome” - these artworks pay homage to the contribution of the Japanese community to Broome.

Concept & Art works: Tomoko Yamada
Consultation: Broome Japanese Community

Photo: Ian Mcconnell