American Guardian

Roger Shimomura (American, b. 1939)
Lithograph on Rives BFK
Plate : 27 x 39 in. (68.58 cm x 1 m)
Sheet : 31 3/4 x 43 in. (80.64 cm x 1.1 m)
Mat : 40 x 50 in. (1 x 1.3 m)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
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Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the American government rounded up approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans living in the western United States and incarcerated them in military prison camps. Many of the imprisoned Japanese-Americans lost their houses, automobiles and other property, and a significant number suffered physical injury, psychological trauma and even death as a result of their forced confinement. Roger Shimomura is a third-generation Japanese American whose family was incarcerated in two different camps from 1942 to 1944. Although he was only a child at the time, Shimomura’s own memories and the stories he heard from relatives have provided powerful inspiration for many works of art that address the fundamental injustice of the Japanese-American incarceration program and the pernicious persistence of racial stereotyping in the United States.

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