"You make us accept the intent of your prejudice which forces us into positions of inferiority and self-hatred, into compromise and confusion that makes busboys from engineers, fruit market clerks from architects, stock boys from those with college degrees, and now concentration camp inhabitats whose sons and brothers and husbands fight for this country overseas."
Tule Lake, by Ed Miyakawa
After reading Ed Miyakawa's book, "Tule Lake", I was compelled to paint these next five pieces... the fourth piece was actually done first... this one was done last...
Only after reading Ed's book did I realize to the extent my parents were ripped apart inside and out... this book puts flesh and blood on what I only knew as facts.
The pure insanity of having to pledge our allegiance to a government who uprooted and destroyed our lives in a matter of weeks was bad enough... but to then place the label of disloyal and criminal if you stood up against what was happening, made me absolutely crazy with rage... absurd... unbelievable... totally unacceptable... and yet absolutely real... it happened and with the blessing of the Supreme Court, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes in a matter of weeks and thrown into hellish conditions... forced to live like animals... and still claim that you were loyal...
I believe these pieces are the culmination of my entire body of work... These five pieces convey why I have been painting for the past 25 years... boiled down on 5 small 15" by 30" canvases, I feel these will complete this chapter of my life...
I do want to add three more pieces to this set... two of my grandfather and dad in the beginning to show their pain, and at the end showing my son's pain.
Executive Order 9066 is written 9006... this was a mistake which comes from not really knowing much about what happened... and isn't that why history repeats itself? We tend to forget don't we? (On my son I will probably have another number mistakenly taken away.)
I want to add a special thanks to Emily Teruya (V.P. to JACL Berkeley), who started the Japanese American Youth Forum online, and her mom Noriko Teruya who introduced me to Ed Miyakawa's book, "Tule Lake".
With their help I feel I am finally able to piece together my past and know my forefathers and the bravery and sacrifice they endured for my sake. The one’s who fought in the war and the ones who fought the injustice of being forcibly interned against our will.
Finally, I dedicate these pieces to all the “No-No” boys who were label traitors by fellow Japanese Americans and the government. What they did was as brave as fighting in Italy… knowing that they were indeed right to fight against this injustice. And those who were placed at Tule Lake because they were deemed trouble makers.