Delphine Hirasuna: The Art of Gaman

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“The Art of Gaman” written by Delphine Hirasuna and designed by Kit Hinrichs

In 1942, at the outset of U.S. involvement in World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that relocated 120,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps. top domains And they remained in those camps for the duration of the war, even as their sons defended America with the U.S. Army’s 442nd Infantry — an all Japanese-American combat unit.

Labeled “enemy aliens” in Pearl Harbor’s wake, the detainees were only allowed to bring the things they could carry. However, this included tools, allowing the Japanese to produce a variety of merchandise. Delphine Hirasuna, whose family was interned in Arkansas during those years, elegantly documented what they produced. Her book, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps 1942-1946, reveals that despite the countless hardships, the prisoners whittled and carved, painted and etched, stitched and crocheted — fashioning furniture from scrap lumber, carving teapots from slate, and making pendants from toothbrush handles. The Japanese wanted to add beauty to their bleak surroundings, and were apparently quite successful.

The book has rightly been hailed for its historical contribution, but it should also be recognized for the stellar work of Kit Hinrichs, the designer of the book. Hirasuna and Hinrichs are long time collaborators who publish the much-acclaimed @Issue: Journal of Business and Design.

To purchase the book, click here.

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