Make it Manzanar. By David Toyoshima


"Make it Manzanar" is a series of posters (24" x 36") presented at my MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Advancement Show (10/09/16) at California State University, Long Beach.

The poster campaign employs a travel or vacation theme from the period (1940s) as a means to sardonically illustrate the "joys" of camp life at Manzanar. The reality (when read in the body copy) was quite the opposite.
During the the War, the U.S. Government (WRA, or War Relocation Authority) actually tried to portray camp life as idyllic.
Famous photographers like Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Russell Lee were employed by the WRA to portray and promote "normal" life and conditions in Manzanar. The propaganda was that Japaneese American internment was necessary for their protection. Life was wonderful, ingoring the fact that condtions were most often dusty, hot or freezing cold. Barbed wire surrounded the camp and armed sentries had their rifles pointed inward. JAs were prisoners. Jailed without due process. A failure of our Constitution. Could such a thing happen again? Racial profiling and mistrust of foreigners?
It's possible. When asked during the Republican primaries about JA inernment camps, candidate Donald Trump fully supported the idea of relocating and imprisoning Japanese Americans...if he were President at that time. In his mind, and others, war trumps (pardon the pun) Constitutional Law.
The images are from the National Archives, and combines the works of Russell Lee, Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange.
Design and copy are copyright © David Toyoshma, 2016. All rights reserved. No rerprinting or republishing without written consent. For details or a better look at the copy, please contact author (David Toyoshim).

Slides in this album 

Going to Camp!

Body Copy

This was no “summer camp.” Manzanar was essentially a prison camp. Over 10,000 Japanese Americans were removed from their homes and farms by armed U.S. soldiers and forced to spend their lives behind barbed wire and machine gun towers during the length of WW2. JAs were regarded, …

Contributed by: toyoshimad


Body Copy:

Clean Air. Healthy living. It’s all yours at Manzanar. Fact is, most of the time the relocation camp was swept by choking dust storms. Temperatures in the summer soared into the triple digits. And in the winter, the mercury rarely climbed above freezing. No parkas back then. Just …

Contributed by: toyoshimad

Peaceful Paradise

Body Copy

“For their protection”—one of the many rationales made by the U.S. Government for relocating Japanese Americans to internment camps. Propaganda from the War Department said JAs faced probable retaliation from hate groups as Imperial Japan had become“the enemy.” Such camps were “safe zones” where JAs could live …

Contributed by: toyoshimad

Romantic Retreat

Body Copy:

During WWII, more than 10,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly incarcerated in the remote confines of Manzanar. Many of them were recently married before the war. “Honeymoon suites” consisted of dusty, drafty, communal shacks. “Privacy” was nothing more than a bedsheet partition strung along a clothesline.

Contributed by: toyoshimad

Album Type

online exhibition

toyoshimad — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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