Miné Okubo (first name pronounced MEE-NEH), a pioneering Nisei woman, artist and writer, created approximately 2000 drawings and sketches of her experiences while confined along with approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans in US internment camps following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.Initially assigned to the Tanforan Assembly Center, a former horse racetrack in San Bruno, California, a few miles south of San Francisco, she and her brother were later sent to the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah.
Following her confinement, Miné Okubo relocated to New York and published a book of her experiences,Citizen 13660, which documented, without bitterness, the indignities, struggle and sparse humor of daily life for internees at the camps. Named for the number assigned to her family unit, the book contains over two hundred of her pen and ink sketches accompanied by brief explanatory text. Published in 1946 and in print for more than 50 years since, the book provides a unique perspective on the historical record of the internment.
Above: Drawings from "Citizen 13660."
Mine Okubo left some of the most detailed, and accurate records of the internment experience. She wrote:
"In the camps, first at Tanforan and then at Topaz in Utah, I had the opportunity to study the human race from the cradle to the grave, and to see what happens to people when reduced to one status and one condition. Cameras and photographs were not permitted in the camps,d[›] so I recorded everything in sketches, drawings and paintings." Miné Okubo - preface to the 1983 edition of Citizen 13660
|Training||Master of Fine Arts, University of California at Berkeley (1938);|
Studied under Fernand Léger inParis; Diego Rivera in San Francisco
|Works||Isseis Lost Everything (painting, 1944);|
Citizen 13660 (book, 1946, reprinted, 1973, 1983);
Mother and Cat (painting, 1949);
Numerous works in pen and ink,oil, watercolor, tempera and gouache