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Isamu Noguchi Plaza

Isamu Noguchi Plaza

This plaza is not only a beloved neighborhood landmark but is also significant to art lovers, as it was designed in 1983 by the world-famous, critically-acclaimed sculptor and Los Angeles native, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988).

In the middle of his plaza, Noguchi erected a sculpture consisting of two 12-foot-tall basalt rocks – the only publicly accessible sculpture in his hometown. His sculpture’s title, To the Issei, refers to the great sacrifices the Issei (first-generation Japanese immigrants) made to support their families and the Japanese American community.

Organizing the plaza as a focal point, To the Issei venerates the founders of the Japanese American community with two 12-foot-tall basalt rocks that, in material and form, harken back to traditional Japanese rock compositions.

One rock lies horizontal, suggesting repose, and the other – standing upright but slightly tilted to form a diagonal line which is a Japanese symbol for mankind – evokes heroic power.

The chipped surface of each of the 20-ton rocks exposes the inner texture of the basalt, reflecting a Japanese artistic tradition of slightly altering natural materials as a symbol of completing them with a human presence.

By giving voice to the core Japanese belief of ancestral respect, these rocks, according to Noguchi, "express a congealment of time" and create an aura of the eternal, universal, and immortal. Source: Public Art in Public Spaces


  • Standing: 1-2,000
  • Seated: 600
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