Witness to Wartime
May 6, 2023 – October 6, 2023
Mr. Takuichi (1891-1964) bore witness to his life in America and to his experiences during World War II with a remarkably comprehensive visual record of this important time in American history. He offers a unique perspective on his generation, shedding light on events that most Americans did not experience, yet whose lessons remain salient today.
Takuichi Fujii was 50 years old when war broke out between the U.S. and Japan. In a climate of increasing fear and racist propaganda, he became one of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry on the Pacific Coast forced to leave their homes and live in geographically isolated incarceration camps. Confronting such circumstances, Fujii began an illustrated diary that spans the years from his forced removal in May 1942 to the closing of Minidoka in October 1945.
In over 250 ink drawings ranging from public to intimate views, the diary depicts detailed images of the incarceration camps, and the inmates’ daily routines and pastimes. He also produced over 130 watercolors that reiterate and expand upon the diary, augmenting those scenes with many new views, as well as other aesthetic and formal considerations of painting.
Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii is curated by Dr. Barbara Johns, and the traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.
The Morikami Museum’s presentation of Witness to Wartime is sponsored by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.