Arts & Design


  • Smithsonian, Archives of American Art: Preliminary Guide to Resources on Asian Pacific American Artists at the Archives of American Art
  • Orient-se (Portuguese)
    • Architecture (article)
    • Plastic Arts (Japanese Brazilian artists; directory with 69 entries)
    • Artisans (Japanese Brazilian craftspeople; directory of 13 artisans in 6 media)
    • Study Centers
    • Cinema, Video, and Theater (articles and directory listings)
    • Dance (classic and folkloric; directory)
    • Shodô (calligraphy; directory)
    • Paper Arts (including kiriê, origami, washi; directory)
    • Miscellaneous (including design, photography, ikebana, bonsai, futon, kimono, and omamori; articles/directory)
    • Decoration (interior design; listings)
Web site includes articles and directory listings for Japanese Brazilian arts and cultural resources. Separate listings for Music.
Survey article profiling important Nikkei artists in Brazil.
List of Nikkei artists living in Vancouver, Canada. Most of them were born in Japan.
Issue devoted to Japanese American women artists. Includes profiles of Ruth Asawa, Mary Ijichi, Miné Okubo, and Yoshiko Wada; "A Spectrum of Voices, A Common Vision" by Betty Kano and Clara Kim; "What’s APA?" by Andrew Amorao; and "A Framework for History: Design Ideas for a NJAHS Center at the Presidio" by Alan Ohashi.

Artist Groups

Brazilian artist group including many Nikkei artists; founded São Paulo, active 1950-59. Founders included: Alzira Pecorari; Arcangelo Ianelli; Armando Pecorari; Hajime Higaki; Jorge Mori; Takeshi Suzuki; Tamaki; Tikashi Fukushima; Tomoo Handa; and Yoshiya Takaoka. Other members included Alina Okinaka; Ismenia Coaracy; Manabu Mabe; Masanosuke Hashimoto; Massao Okinaka; Tsukika Okayama; and Wega Nery.
Japanese-Brazilian artist group; founded São Paulo 1935, active to 1972. Founders: Tomoo Handa; Hajime Higaki; Takahashi; Yoshiya Takaoka; Tamaki; Shigeto Tanaka. Further members: Flávio-Shiró; Tikashi Fukushima; Tadashi Kaminagai; Manabu Mabe; Shigeo Nishimura; Tomie Ohtake; Massao Okinaka; Takeshi Suzuki.
Photographs from "Yama Project", a project documenting the Japanese farming and arts community in Brazil known as Comunidade Yuba.
Home page of Asian American comedy group, which was founded in 1995 by Quincy Wong and Keith Uchima in Chicago.

Individual Nikkei Artists & Designers

Arts Events (regularly scheduled)

Kearny Street Workshop's APAture is an annual multidisciplinary arts festival presenting the work of emerging Asian Pacific American (APA) artists, ages 18 to 35, living and/or working in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The CanAsian Dance Festival fosters and promotes diverse expressions of Asian aesthetics through dance in Canada. It presents a biennial festival, with annual artistic and professional development activities in the off years.
Annual mid-summer celebration of Asian Canadian arts, history and culture in Vancouver, Canada.
The Nihongo Art Contest Organizing Committee collaborates with The Japan Foundation, Toronto, to promote Japanese language through inventive illustrations using Kanji and Hiragana. The Foundation then tours an exhibition of the submitted works to schools throughout Ontario.

Arts Organizations

"Artistic director Allen Hope Sermonia and managing director Mitch Schneider have high hopes for their emergent theater company, dueEast Theatre Company. Dedicated to Asian-American plays and educational outreach, dueEast is this year presenting its second season, showcasing the play "Seven Out" by Chicago playwright Keith Uchima, in its Midwest premiere. Last year, dueEast presented the Midwest premiere of a play called "The Theory of Everything," by Chris Gomolvilas."
"fu-GEN is a not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to the development of Asian-Canadian Artists through the production of new and established works. Founded in January 2002, fu-GEN (short for “Future Generation”) is a dynamic group, determined to carve out a space in the Canadian cultural landscape for vibrant Asian-Canadian voices."
"The Grateful Crane Ensemble is a non-profit theatre company whose mission is to create and present meaningful and entertaining bilingual programs for Japanese American seniors in appreciation of the many sacrifices they have made so the generations that followed could live a better life in America."
"The purpose of the organization is to promote and keep alive interest in the traditional folk dances of Japan. Our primary function is the performing, teaching, and preserving of those authentic dances, performed by the ordinary working people of Japan. To us, it is dance with the sweat and sweetness of life, itself!"
"...founded in 1992 to preserve and promote Japanese traditional performing arts in the Untied States. Traditional performing arts have had a difficult time surviving in this area and a conscious effort is needed to hand down tradition art forms to future generations. ... It is an umbrella organization for all the Japanese traditional performing arts groups in Los Angeles. Its activities are to present & produce performances including lecture to acquaint general audiences to traditional performing arts."
Established in 1972 to support Japanese and Japanese-American artists, with the added intent of providing a connection between the art worlds of the United States and Japan.

Art Forms

See also Arts in the Camps under War & Resistance -- Incarceration -- United States


"The transformation of Japanese Buddhist temple design in Hawai‘i parallels the social transformations in the Japanese-American community. This exhibition illustrates the history of the Japanese community in Hawai‘i and its Buddhist temples, from the late 19th century to present day."
"Highlights the cultural imprint of Asian groups on the built environment of the United States. It is part of an effort by the National Park Service and its partners to increase the awareness of the historic places associated with the nation’s cultural and ethnic groups that have been identified, documented, recognized, and interpreted and to lay the groundwork for the identification of additional historic places."
Includes Nikkei heritage sites such as the Haraguchi Rice Mill (Hanalei, Hawai'i), the various War Relocation Camps, the Jun Fujita Cabin (International Falls, Minnesota), the Wakamiya Inari Shrine (Honolulu, Hawai'i), the Stedman-Thomas Historic District (Ketchikan, Alaska). The report also describes "theme studies" such as the Japanese American World War II Theme Study (37 sites).

Bonsai / Ikebana / Suiseki

For information on Gardening, see entries under Food & Agriculture and Business & Work


  • Virtual Tour: National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, United States National Arboretum (Washington DC)
"Você já viu um bonsai? Acha que seria capaz de reconhecer um exemplar verdadeiro? Se você não conhece nada a respeito dessa verdadeira arte de se cultivar uma planta, acompanhe este especial preparado pelo Nippo-Brasil."


"Galhos, folhas secas, frutos, grama, sementes e até ferro, vidro e madeira. Vários materiais podem ser utilizados nessa arte floral que também proporciona a paz interior."
Article describes major ikebana styles, and their expressions in Brazil.


Web site offers excellent introduction to the concepts and practice of suiseki.

Landscape Architecture & Gardens

See also Busuness & Works -- Landscaping & Gardening
"The Japanese Garden Database is intended as a repository of information on the historical and contemporary gardens of Japan as well as the gardens located outside Japan that have been inspired by the culture. It is a non-profit, educational web site that seeks to provide information on a selection of outstanding examples of garden art found in Japan while juxtaposing a diversity of media related to them. This juxtaposition is intended to bring about fresh insight to a body of discourse that can often be mired in romanticized and exoticized notions of Asia and the cultures therein."
"Photo and written/oral narrative about this community involving the stories of their creators and guardians. It’s purpose is to document these gardens in order to bring a greater awareness and appreciation of their existence, their importance to the cultural history of California."
"The North American Bonsai Federation is an organization that represents the North American region in the World Bonsai Friendship Federation and as such is dedicated to the promotion of peace, friendship and goodwill in the world through cultural outreach and exchange possible with the practice of bonsai and related art forms. The region consists of Canada, United States and the Caribbean. Due to similar language, Mexico has opted to participate in WBFF through the Latin American Region."
"The American Garden Museum is a working archive that celebrates American gardens and their gardeners. The Museum highlights gardens big and small, urban and rural, gentle and outrageous, wildly expensive and affordable. It does not, however, support competitions, or pass judgment on the aesthetic or technical merit of any garden. It simply collects and shares American garden stories and pictures."
A chronicle of Tim's backyard Japanese garden project with photos and text.
"Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System (JAANUS) is the on-line Dictionary of Japanese Architectural and Art Historical Terminology compiled by Dr. Mary Neighbour Parent."
A public garden owned by the City of Seattle and maintained by the Department of Parks & Recreation.
"In 2003, the San Antonio Parks Foundation organized Friends of the Parks, a citywide, volunteer support organization for the San Antonio Parks System, which functions under the umbrella of the non-profit 501(C)(3) San Antonio Parks Foundation."

Literary Arts: Literature, Poetry, Spoken-Word

  • Senryu, short poems of social criticism
  • Jeffery Paul Chan and Marilyn C. Alquiloza, "Asian-American Literary Traditions". In: A Literary History of the American West, sponsored by the Western Literature Association. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1987.
Includes a section, "Japanese-American Literary Traditions": "There is a rich and complex tradition of Japanese-American writing in English. Its variety and development through the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps during World War II–the apotheosis of American intolerance–reflect common bonds of history, language, sensibility and culture."
  • Nina Revoyr, Southland.
Interview with Raul Deznermio in which Revoyr describes her experiences and perceptions of Los Angeles' Crenshaw District, an important locus of Japanese-American development after World War II. Cites the Holiday Bowl as one of the inspirations for her novel.
"The fields of Japanese and Japanese American literature tend to be viewed as two separate entitities. Yet, the position of first generation Japanese immigrants (Issei), who were not fully included in American society, forces a reconsideration of this academic division. For most Issei, migration to another country was supposed to be a temporary situation. Yet for many, they never returned home. As a result, their emotional tie to the homeland nurtured an intellectual one. This intellectual exchange between Japan and the new land of the immigrant has yet to be fully analyzed. Yoshitaka Hibi will discuss the difficult placement of Issei literature as both the beginnings of Japanese American literature and also an extension of Japanese national literature by looking at the circulation of Issei literature in bookstores found in Japanese communities in North America. Anne Sokolsky will look at the fiction that was serialized in the Japanese language newspaper "Rafu shinpô." She will focus on the stories written by Japanese nationals and why these stories were published for Japanese immigrants. Shiori Nomura will look at the essays written by female Japanese immigrants that were published in the "Nichibei" newspaper during the early part of the twentieth century. She will discuss how these essays reflect both the prevailing wisdom regarding the social role of Japanese women but also inject new ideas about how Japanese immigrant women should behave. Kristina Vassil will look at the founder of Japanese immigrant literature, Okina Kyuin, and how, despite his "cosmopolitan" reputation, he emphasized the need for immigrant literature to reflect the space in which Japanese immigrants lived. In conclusion, by examining the early intellectual efforts of Japanese immigrants in the United States, we would like to reconsider the connection Japanese migrants maintained with Japan as they grappled for a new place to call home."
Includes memoirs, poetry, selections from novels, and other literary works created by Issei and Nisei from the Pacific Northwest.
Excerpt of Abstract: "This thesis is a broadly chronological study of representations of Japan and the Japanese in Australian novels, stories and memoirs from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first century. Adopting Edward Said's Orientalist notion of the 'Other', it attempts to elaborate patterns in which Australian authors describe and evaluate the Japanese. As well as examining these patterns of representation, this thesis outlines the course of their development and change over the years, how they relate to the context in which they occur, and how they contribute to the formation of wider Australian views on Japan and the Japanese."
Partial abstract: "The thesis examines the literary archive of the Japanese diaspora in North America and uncovers evidence of an intergenerational transmission of trauma after the internment of all peoples of Japanese descent in America during World War Two. Their experience of migration, discrimination and displacement was exacerbated by the internment, the single most influential episode in their history which had a profound effect on subsequent generations. It is argued the trauma of their experiences can be located in their writing and, drawing on the works of Freud and trauma theoreticians Cathy Caruth and Ruth Leys in particular, the thesis constructs a theoretical framework which may be applied to post-internment Japanese diasporic writing to reveal the traces of trauma in all generations, traces that are linked to what Freud referred to as a posterior moment that triggered an earlier trauma which the subject may not have experienced personally but which may be lodged in her / her psyche. An examination of the literature of the Japanese diaspora shows that trauma is carried in the language itself and impacted upon the collective psyche of the entire community."
"I began my research by interviewing several community members about their experience as Japanese immigrants in Brazil. I followed this with some time at the libraries at the [Japanese Brazilian] Immigration Museum and the Center for [Japanese Brazilian] Studies performing an archival search of the different literature that has been produced about the immigration experience. After I collected concrete examples of immigration in literature, I set about meeting with different writers, critics, and publishers to speak to them about the writing community that has been created within the Japanese Brazilian community."


"Reading Japanese American Literature: The legacy of Three Generations" by Teruyo Ueki and Gayle K. Sato. (Japanese)
"Asian American Literature―Threading Past, Present, and Future" by Asian American Literature Association in Japan. (Japanese)

Performing Arts: Music

Orchestral work (composed by Jean-Pascal Beintus, David Benoit, Naomi Sekiya) with spoken text (by Philip Kan Gotanda); features a 76-piece orchestra and children’s chorus. World premiere scheduled for May 10, 2005, by the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra (Kent Nagano, conductor).
Describes contemporary jazz musicians playing music popular in America's concentration camps during World War II.
Profile of Kikuo Nishi, a Nikkei rap music artist who performs under the name Key Kool.

Performing Arts: Music - Taiko

Performing Arts: Theater & Musical Theater

  • "Manzanar: The Story of an American Family" by Rus McCoy (book & lyrics) and Dan Taguchi (music)
Sam Chu Lin, "Manzanar Internment Camp Experience Becomes a Musical". (March 8-14, 2002)
Roger W. Tang, "New Musical MANZANAR To Be Read At EWP". Asian American Theatre Revue (2001)
Describes the genesis of "The Gull", a noh play based on Canadian poet Daphne Marlatt's 1974 poem-series, "Steveston", about the Japanese-Canadian fishing community.
Review (
Johannes Birringer, Review (
"Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes, based in Mexico D.F. and directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri, has rediscovered an important historical document from the silent film era, and it has brought Enrique Rosas's 1919 movie back to live in a riveting 'voicescape' compounding the musical, theatrical and cinematic dimensions of a drama which - in today's understanding of documentary film and television - has a true story based in 'real life.'"
"Famosos pelo alto grau técnico exigidos dos atores, os estilos teatrais japoneses são marcados pela poesia recitativa e por códigos gestuais e musicais."
Article examines characteristics of different Japanese theater styles, and their expressions in Brazil.
"Kim Ima's father, as a boy during World War II, spend most of his grade-school years in an American concentration camp--the Minidoka internment facility in Hunt, Idaho. It was a place to which Japanese Americans, their loyalty suspect, were forcibly moved from the West Coast shortly after the outbreak of the war. Their years in the camp were memorialized in a glossy bound yearbook, published in 1943, titled 'The Minidoka Interlude.' Ms. Ima has created a multimedia theater piece, 'The Interlude,' to recall this dark episode and to try to understand the legacy of her father's past."
Review: Jerry Tallmer, "Contrasting lives: being Japanese during WWII". The Villager 74, no. 24 (October 13-19, 2004).
"Many have wondered how one can possibly do a musical comedy based on the Internment Camps and still have an authentic show. Amazingly enough, Gary Iwamoto was able to accomplish such a feat. Iwamoto was working on Gordon Hirabayashi’s coram nobis case when he was inspired to write a play about the internment camps. But rather than focusing on the negative aspects of camp life, he focused instead on the Issei (first-generation Japanese) trait of enduring and making the best of the situation (gaman) and their feelings of "it can’t be helped" (shikata ga nai). He wanted to concentrate on the fun times people had experienced in camp without losing sight of the many injustices."

Visual Arts


Public Art

"The Seattle Japanese American Citizen League (JACL), along with a consortium of organizations and individuals, ... commissioned a public artwork commemmorating Japanese American farmers, to be installed in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market."
Describes the creation of an artwork to commemorate the Issei pioneer Kisa Okuna Iseri (1888-1991).
Kikuchi has led efforts to paint a mural, 16 feet high by 40 feet long, in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo district. The mural, designed by artist Tony Osumi, includes memories of Little Tokyo contributed by the public through a series of community meetings.

Internment Monuments

See also entries under War & Resistance --Internment
"Adams's Manzanar work is a departure from his signature style of landscape photography. Although a majority of the photographs are portraits, the images also include views of daily life, agricultural scenes, and sports and leisure activities. When he offered the collection to the Library in 1965, Adams wrote, 'The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and dispair [sic] by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment.... All in all, I think this Manzanar Collection is an important historical document, and I trust it can be put to good use.'"
  • National Japanese American Memorial (Washington DC)
"Dedicated on November 9, 2000, this Memorial honors the loyalty and courage of Japanese Americans during World War II and commemorates the heroism and sacrifice of Japanese Americans who fought and died for their country. In addition, the Memorial tells the story of 120,000 brave men, women, and children who, despite the abridgement of their civil rights and even relocation to desolate camps, maintained their loyalty and supported their nation on the home front. It is an important story for all Americans."
National Japanese American Memorial Foundation
National Public Radio segment (All Things Considered, June 30, 2001) on the monument's dedication. (Requires Real Audio)
National Public Radio segment (Morning Edition, November 10, 2000; 4:08) on the memorial's dedication. (Requires Real Audio)
Rudi Williams, "Memorial Honors Japanese Americans' Loyalty to Nation". Armed Forces Press Service, April 21, 2000.
Profile and biography of Cherry Tsutsumida, the project's executive director.
"In designing the sculpture Asawa said she was forced to 'recall my own experience as a 16-year-old high school student, from having to face fellow students at a high school assembly on Dec 9, 1941, where our principal asked the student body to exercise tolerance and understanding: to the removal of my father by the FBI; and then our later removed to a camp that was hastily built over a cotton field in Rohwer, Arkansas.'"
"The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (NIMC) in New Denver is the only interpretive centre in Canada dedicated to the history of the uprooting and internment of over 22,000 Canadians of Japanese heritage. The centre, in New Denver, British Columbia, is situated on one of ten Canadian internment camp sites, which were located in the interior of BC during the Second World War."
" The Four Rivers Cultural Center has dedicated the garden as a memorial to those Japanese Americans interned during World War II and to the many Japanese Americans who fought valiantly during the war in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters."
On September 10, 2003, "the 61st anniversary of the Portland Assembly Center's closure, TriMet held a dedication ceremony to remember the impact WWII had on our community. The Expo Center MAX Station—part of the Interstate MAX project—features artwork that recalls the history of the internment, including permanent processing tags that were given to each family for identification as they reported to the Assembly Center."
Personal tools