Meet Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889-1953). Kuniyoshi was a Japanese-born American painter, printmaker and photographer who was born in Okyama, Japan and who lived and worked in Woodstock and New York, N.Y. During his life he defined himself as an American artist—regardless of citizenship—despite being classified as an “enemy alien” during World War II. He enjoyed an international reputation. The Whitney organized a retrospective of his in 1948. In 2015, we celebrated his life with the exhibition, Artist Teacher Organizer:  Yasuo Kuniyoshi in the Archives of American Art. His papers are digitized and available on our website. Have a look for yourself.

bobthedragon  asked:

hello I am half japanese, and I've constantly been afraid of saying that japanese art influences me, since I'm so used to it being looked down upon. Literally every time I referenced the folktales/etc that I grew up with, I'd see people eyeroll around me in college, so I just try not to talk about it anymore.

Man, and how many of those people have swipe files of creatures from Japanese mythology stashed away right next to folders full of samurai armor. Ridiculous. 

If you grew up with it, it’s yours. Don’t let other people curate your life.

Day of Remembrance

February 19th is recognized as the Day of Remembrance, commemorating the day in 1942 that President Frederick D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The order authorized the forced removal and incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

As a result of the order, over 110,000 Japanese Americans were removed from their homes, land, and belongings and relocated to inland “relocation centers.” Several of these cultural landscapes are preserved by the National Park Service: Manzanar National Historic Site, Minidoka National Historic Site, and Tule Lake Unit (part of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument).

Loading bus at Manzanar Relocation Center. Photo by Ansel Adams, 1943, Library of Congress.

Densho, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and preserving the World War II-era incarceration experiences of Japanese Americans, has complied a calendar of 2016 Day of Remembrance events around the country.

How can anyone be expected to remember a history they never learned?

If you can’t visit a site or attend one of these events, these resources can help you to explore, remember, and share this period of our nation’s history:

This remnant pear tree in the Hatfield Orchard at Manzanar, like many of the fruit trees at the site, was neglected for years since the camp’s closure. Park stabilization efforts include mulching and building a bowl around the base to hold water (NPS, 2004).

[Top Photo: Mess line at noon, Manzanar Relocation Center, California, by Ansel Adams, 1943 - Library of Congress]

“So fervently did Minoru Yasui believe in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution that, during World War II, he endured nine months of solitary confinement to test the government’s authority to discriminate against Americans of Japanese ancestry on the basis of race.” #japaneseamerican #denver #apiagram #history (at Sakura Square)

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“Don’t become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You’ll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart.”
RIP Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014, Human Rights Activist, Civil Rights Hero. #AsianAmerican #JapaneseAmerican #womynofcolor #shero
(Artwork by Yee Xiong @rednowoman )

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“Sowing Dreams Cultivating Lives: #Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II #OrangeCounty” A surprise package from Kurtis Nakagawa, a member of the Tom & Chiz Miyawaki Legacy Project. I met him at the opening reception for Laura Kina’s Cal Poly Pomona art exhibition and, coincidentally, he and my father were high school friends! #JapaneseAmerican #AsianAmerican [3/21/2016] (at Gardena, California)

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