ナンシー・マツモト

(Nancy Matsumoto)

Nancy Matsumoto is a freelance writer and editor specializing in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food, arts, culture and health. She has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Time, People, Civil Eats, NPR’s The Salt, TheAtlantic.com and the online Densho Encyclopedia of the Japanese American Incarceration, among other publications. She is also the co-author of the book The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating & Positive Body Image at Home.

Twitter/Instagram: @nancymatsumoto

Updated June 2017

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Documenting Manzanar - Part 17 of 18 (Toyo Miyatake)

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Miyatake and Adams

Photography also provided Miyatake an introduction to Adams at Manzanar. Introduced by Merritt in 1943, their shared passion for photography and the discovery that Edward Weston was a mutual friend forged the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Miyatake and Adams. Archie remembered the day when Adams came to their barrack to photograph his family, resulting in a picture that Adams included in Born Free and Equal. In it, Toyo stands, hand on hip, watching his daughter Minnie drawing (by then, two more Miyatake children, Richard and Minnie had been born). Hiroko leans over ...

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Documenting Manzanar - Part 16 of 18 (Toyo Miyatake)

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The Post-War Years: Coming to Terms with Manzanar

Of course once freed from the concentration camps, the Japanese did congregate in clusters, many settling not far from the Los Angeles Little Tokyo they had inhabited before the war. Decades of pre-war racial prejudice followed by the mass illegal roundup and imprisonment had encouraged a clannishness, as well as complicated feelings of discomfort, shame and anger in relation to non-Japanese. Patrick Nagatani’s account of the 1977 UCLA photography show he co-curated with Graham Howe and Scott Rankin, “Two Views of Manzanar,” offers insight into some of these ...

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Documenting Manzanar - Part 15 of 18 (Toyo Miyatake)

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In Moving Images: Photography and the Japanese American Incarceration (University of Illinois Press, 2009), Jasmine Alinder described how the U.S. military and government used photography as a tool of power and control over Japanese Americans during World War II:

The struggle over photography figured in nearly every aspect of the incarceration. The military criminalized Japanese Americans through identity photographs and prohibited cameras in the concentration camps. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the FBI began conducting raids of Japanese American homes, and many Japanese Americans destroyed artifacts, including family photographs, that might have been construed as ...

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Documenting Manzanar - Part 14 of 18 (Toyo Miyatake)

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Back to Japan, 1933-1936

When Miyatake’s father fell ill in Japan in 1933, Toyo was selected to represent the family and returned to Japan to pay his respects. By the time he and his family had completed the two-week passage, however, Toyo’s father had died. As the de facto head of the family (his older brother, who traditionally would have filled this role, was in Los Angeles running the confectionary shop), Miyatake felt bound to stay on in Japan. Yet he felt ill at ease on tradition-bound, provincial, Shikoku Island. Miyatake considered opening a photography ...

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A new musical set in Heart Mountain, an indy film featuring Manzanar

Last week, I attended a workshop production of a musical called Allegiance, which tells the tale of the unconstitutional imprisonment of 120,000 West Coast residents of Japanese descent during World War II. The show is being developed by the Old Globe in San Diego, with music and lyrics by composer/producer Jay Kuo and book by Kuo and Lorenzo Thione.

Having looked at popular depictions of this sad chapter of American history in the decades since World War II, I was interested to see how the musical, directed by Stafford Arima, would tell this story through the medium of ...

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