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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1859/

“I did what I wanted to do”

I did what I wanted to do. That’s why, people say, well he’s a happy guy for the kind of art he does. Yeah, ’cause I’ve no regrets.

You got, you don’t wanna be my age and say, you know, I shoulda done this, I shoulda, I shoulda done painting. Because where is this leading to? If you think about it and you’re in San Bernardino, you know, um, just got out of camp, and you wanna be an artist? Like in some families that may make sense but—I was playing over there.

But it don’t make sense in my family. No one thought of art, no one plays an instrument, no one—so, why I became this, I don’t know, but, I’m glad I did it. Because we’re gonna go through this, as I said, whatever happens next, happens next, you ain’t got no control over it. But, this I do have control over, and it’s mine.


arts graphic arts painting postwar World War II

Date: September 8, 2011

Location: California, US

Interviewer: John Esaki, Kris Kuramitsu

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Ben Sakoguchi, born in 1938, is a painter and printmaker who has lived in the Los Angeles area his entire life, except for the time when he and his family were incarcerated in Poston Arizona. After studying painting in the 1960s at the University of California, Los Angeles, he developed a distinctive style that is rooted in pairing a narrative painting tradition with a pop culture vocabulary. He is best known for his long running “Orange Crate Label” series, using the classic crate label format to explore diverse subject matter and to combine them in a way that allows for both sharp critique and wry humor. His work is deeply and politically engaged, and he takes a deep delight in the craft and beauty of painting itself. Sakoguchi was a professor at Pasadena City College for nearly 35 years. Visit his website at bensakoguchi.com. (Oct. 2011)

Eric Nakamura
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Eric Nakamura

Giant Robot, a stepping stone for young artists

Giant Robot co-founder and publisher

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Mike Shinoda
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Mike Shinoda

Role as an artist

(b. 1977) Musician, Producer, Artist

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Akira Watanabe
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Akira Watanabe

Taiko, an element that represents strength (Spanish)

(b. 1974) Director of Ryukyu Matsuri Daiko in Peru

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Evelyn Yoshimura
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Evelyn Yoshimura

Emergence of Graphics in Gidra

Community Activist

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Jean Hamako Schneider
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Jean Hamako Schneider

Masao-san (Japanese)

(b. 1925) War bride

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Tamio Wakayama
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Tamio Wakayama

Resettling in Chatham

(1941-2018) Japanese Canadian photojournalist and activist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

Thriving art culture at camp

(b. 1926) Artist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

On the process of making her leaf bowls

(b. 1926) Artist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

On the process of creating her Japanese paper bowls

(b. 1926) Artist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

From double weaving to microfilament “flat” hangings

(b. 1926) Artist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

Marriage to Bob Stocksdale

(b. 1926) Artist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

Learning how to weave

(b. 1926) Artist

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

Mother also wove growing up

(b. 1926) Artist

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Mitsuru "Mits" Kataoka
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Mitsuru "Mits" Kataoka

The first print image from film

(1934–2018) Japanese American designer, educator, and pioneer of media technologies

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Jimmy Naganuma
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Jimmy Naganuma

Postwar sponsorship (Inglês)

(b. 1936) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City

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