An exhibition in Tokyo displayed artwork by Japanese American artists who were incarcerated in the U.S. during World War II. These artworks provide a rare glimpse into the lives of the 120,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens, detained after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Hosted at the official residence of the US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, the exhibition underscores a controversial period in American history, as well as the resilience and spirit of those affected.
- The artwork on display, including illustrations and paintings, captured the everyday experiences of those detained, from mundane activities to inner turmoil.
- The incarceration of Japanese Americans post-Pearl Harbor attack remains the largest single forced relocation in U.S. history. While the U.S. government apologized in 1988, the event’s repercussions lingered for generations.
- The art pieces, now showing at various museums, help preserve firsthand memories of the camps, especially as all the showcased artists have passed away.
- The exhibition location, the U.S. ambassador’s residence, is historically significant, being the same room where General Douglas MacArthur met Emperor Hirohito post-Japan’s WWII surrender.
- Many artists faced difficulties post-release, from the loss of their homes and businesses to the challenges of continuing their artistic pursuits amidst financial and personal hardships.