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Topaz Moon
Chiura Obata's Art of the Internment
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Topaz Moon
Chiura Obata's Art of the Internment

By Kimi Kodani Hill
2000, 147 pages, paperback.

Book Description from Back Cover
Comments from Back Cover
Lecture and Interview with Kimi Kodani Hill
About the Author

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Book Description from Back Cover

Chiura Obata, Professor of Art at the University of California, Berkeley, was one of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans forcefully relocated in 1942 from their homes and communities to the stark barracks of internment camps. As an artist faithfully recording the world around him, Obata gave us a view into the camps that was at once honest in the details of austerity and hardship, and strikingly lyrical in its portrayal of hope and beauty even in incarceration.

Topaz Moon presents more than 100 of Obata's sketches, sumi paintings, and watercolors from the internment period. Lovingly collected and edited by his granddaughter, Kimi Kodani Hill, and movingly augmented by letters and interviews, Obata's work gives testament to his artistic genius and a spirit undefeated by adversity.

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Comments from Back Cover

"In 1942 much was summarily taken from Japanese Americans: their liberty, their property, their right to equal protection under the law. No one, however, could take from them their integrity, their family unity, their capacity to prevail, or, as this book shows, their ability to bear witness through the prisms of memory and art to what was being done to them. Here now, from one master artist, are the on-the-scene images of isolation and loneliness-and the special transcendence that comes when beauty points to a larger hope."
Dr. Kevin Starr,
State Librarian of California

"Topaz Moon reveals the depth of Chiura Obata's artistic achievement. His words and art capture the tumultuous period of the Japanese American incarceration."
Karin Higa, Senior Curator of Art,
Japanese American National Museum

"Obata's images - lyrical, harsh, haunting, evocative - give us the stories words can't tell."
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston,
author, Farewell to Manzanar

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Background on Kimi Kodani Hill

Kimi Kodani Hill began researching the lives of her grandparents, Chiura and Haruko Obata, in 1985, eventually assuming the role of family historian. Since 1993, she has presented numerous slide lectures on her grandfather's life and work. She has also served as a consultant for an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution on the Japanese American internment. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, she currently lives in Berkeley.

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