japanese american history

In the 1940s my family’s only crime was having the face of the enemy. They were incarcerated for four years at Tule Lake Segregation Camp along with 120,000 others of Japanese descent. 

Making art about the unjust imprisonment of families of Japanese descent is my healing and meditation - for my family, ancestors, culture, and America. It brings to light unspoken and unreleased issues around this discriminatory history. Why do I continue making art about something that happened 75 years ago? Central American families are still unjustly imprisoned in detention centers in Texas. Refugees and immigrants are still discriminated against all over the world. African Americans are racially profiled and killed by police. Recently politicians suggested that immigrants should be interned like the Japanese Americans were in the ’40’s. Engaging younger generations about past wrongdoing while drawing parallels to current injustices, helps them better understand their world and choose how to navigate it.

Legacy Chair
Legacy Chair
Illumination Series
Closeup of Illumination series
RemembranceShrine and Illuminations
Innocent Dreamer
Story Telling and Ritual
Story Telling and Ritual
Story Telling and Ritual
Story Telling and Ritual
Story Telling and Ritual
Story Telling and Ritual
Story Telling and Ritual
Pledge Allegiance
Ancestor Chimes
Ancestor Chimes
Ancestor Chimes
Ancestor Chimes
Remembrance Shrine
Remembrance Shrine
Remembrance Shrine
Remembrance Shrine Ritual
Pearls Left Behind
Quiet American Hero
Quiet American Hero
Quiet American Hero
Family Jewels
Incubation
Mary's Power
My Mother’s Children, 2010
Remembrance Shrine

Created to honor the 65th anniversary of the Japanese American Internment, the shrine is a birdcage wrapped in rice paper and is reminiscent of an Obutsudan, a Buddhist home shrine. This shrine glows like a paper lantern and signifies the dignity and resilience of the imprisoned. The memories of those who were incarcerated from 1942-46 are hidden behind shutters on the shrine. The viewer may interact by lifting the shutters to read the stories and then tie their own writings on to the shrine.