SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – A historic monument in San Jose’s Japantown is found defaced by a vandal. 

The granite monolith honoring the city’s Japanese immigrants was covered with red spray paint overnight. 

City leaders are looking for answers as to why someone would do this. 

The councilmember for this district believes this was not racially motivated but that doesn’t mean this vandalism is any less disheartening.

For an area like many that are struggling through the pandemic, this is just another unfortunate hit.

The spray paint put there by an unknown vandal is unnerving the city’s Japanese community.

“This is just adding insult to injury this has been a tremendously difficult year especially for small businesses,” Raul Peralez said.

City Councilmember Raul Peralez believes this graffiti was done at random by a well-known tagging crew that uses the moniker “JBF.”

He says Japantown’s struggles through the pandemic have gotten worse because of recent burglaries and other petty crimes like this.

“It’s just extremely disheartening to see that we have people out there in our community who want to come out and deface whatever it may be and this one just hurts and stings a little more,” Peralez said.

The monument was erected as a tribute to the Issei Pioneers, the first Japanese immigrants to San Jose. 

The 5 1/2 ton gift came from from Japanese sister city Okayama as a symbol of resilience. 

The community is expects that spirit to continue despite the defacing.

“I don’t want anyone to have any sense of pride because this is sitting up here. We want to get this cleaned up as quickly as possible but also be able to come out and address the concerns of this community has had overall,” Peralez said.

Businesses are also coming together to collect surveillance video to send to police to help identify who did this. 

As the city looks to clean this up, businesses are also coming together to collect surveillance video to send to police to help identify who did this.