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By Jack Matsuoka
Edited by Emi Young
2003, 158 pages, Paperback.

Book Description from Back Cover
About the Author

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Book Description from Back Cover

POSTON CAMP II, BLOCK 211 is the revised version of Jack's first book of cartoons to illustrate life in the detention camps in which thousands of loyal Japanese American citizens were forced to spend most of the years of World War II. Jack Matsuoka knows what he is writing and drawing about because he was a teenager who experienced the inconveniences, the ironies, the humor and the tragedy of being a citizen imprisoned for nothing more than ancestry. He has treated all of the many aspects of camp life with the understanding of a firsthand witness and with the wit of a talented humorist and artist. In spite of its lightness, the book is disturbing and provocative.

Jack Matsuoka drew most of this collection of cartoons while living in the detention camp from 1942 to 1945. For many years they lay forgotten in an old trunk. One day, his mother, Chizu Martha Matsuoka, came upon them again and immediately realized that the story of the camp and the cartoons themselves had something important to say to people today. Through the courtesy of the Bank of Tokyo at the Japan Trade Center, in San Francisco, an exhibition of the cartoons was held. Reactions of visitors led Jack to look for a publisher for his work. People seemed puzzled by the story. One couple from Arizona even remarked that there never was a place called Poston in their state and hinted darkly that some radical group must be behind the exhibit. Clearly there are many people who do not believe what happened to the Japanese Americans and alien residents because they do not know about it. Jack decided it was time to tell the story in a way everyone could understand. He hopes that the latest POSTON CAMP II, BLOCK 211 will again inspire people of all ages to make certain that such a thing never happens again.

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Background on Jack Matsuoka

Jack Matsuoka was born on November 6, 1925, in Watsonville, California, where he grew up. After spending his late teen years in the relocation camp that gives this book its title, he relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent one semester at the Cleveland School of Fine Arts before being drafted into the army.

His army time was passed in Japan acting as an interpreter. He attended Hartnell College in the United States and then transferred to Keio University and later to Sophia University (both in Tokyo). He struggled through these schools on the GI bill and can now claim to be one of the few who experienced postwar life in Japan both as a member of the occupation forces and as a student. During this period, Jack contributed many sports cartoons to the Japan Times and Japanese sports magazines. In addition, he did political cartoons for the Yomiuri News, drew humorous illustrations for books about Japan, and published his first cartoon book, Rice-Paddy Daddy.

Currently, Jack Matsuoka is a San Jose freelance cartoonist contributing to newspapers and magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the creator of a Japanese American (Nikkei) comic strip character, Sensei. He had contributed to the Pacific Tribune from 1974 to 2000 as an editorial cartoonist. He is member of the National Cartoonist Society.

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