Gokurosama: Contemporary Photographs of the Nisei in Hawai'i


This Nikkei Album collection includes a selection of photographs from Honolulu photographer Brian Y. Sato's exhibition, Gokurōsama: Contemporary Photographs of the Nisei in Hawai‘i, which features 35 black & white portraits. Accompanying the photos are the captions that Sato prepared for the exhibition and accompanying catalogue.

The term gokurōsama, which is used to express appreciation of someone’s hard work and sacrifice, embodies the spirit and cultural heritage of these second-generation (Nisei) Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i. Starting in 2002, Sato photographed more than 70 Nisei from O‘ahu and the other neighboring islands, determined to capture their images on an individual, and very personal level.

“I came to the realization that if it was not initiated and completed immediately, the opportunity to document the remaining Nisei generation would be lost forever.” Sato, a Yonsei, explained. “It would be gratifying to me if the viewers of these photographs would come to the realization that the Nisei represent a non-renewable resource, so to speak, that has to be tapped immediately if we are to benefit from the wisdom of their experience.”

The exhibition opened at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i and is on display at the Japanese American National Museum from February 14 through May 24, 2009. For more information, visit janm.org/exhibits/gokurosama.

The Hawai‘i exhibition is sponsored by Liam and Lori Tomoyasu McGee in honor of their Nisei parents, Maxine and the late Mervin Tomoyasu. Los Angeles media sponsor: The Rafu Shimpo

Slides in this album 

Album Type

online exhibition

editor — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation