From Artist to Enemy

Seattle Harassed Two of Its Greatest Painters to Death


Your article showed uncommon insight into the Japanese and Japanese American incarceration in concentration camps during World War II.

The mainstream press usually covers the event in a factual manner and victims usually speak of forgiveness and no bitterness.

Through Nomura and Tokita's lives, you managed to touch on the emotional impact that few want to speak about--betrayal, victimization, depression, racial prejudice, loss, and the destruction of creative lives.

Tokita alluded to that sense of betrayal--one day you are a good guy, the next day the enemy, and then you are released from prison with $25 in your pocket.

For the Japanese American survivors, the incarceration is like a suicide in the family. It is like a ship's wake that always surrounds you and is always present.

Thank you for your work.

Larry Matsuda, Poet and Author
Born in captivity--Minidoka, Idaho, Block 26, Barrack 2
Larry Matsuda: Wow. Thank you for reading, and for writing. I am so moved.

re: "I never knew that two of Seattle's greatest painters were sent to the Japanese internment camps."

Why this lead sentence? Your writing tends to suffer from too much self-referentiality, but this article is admirable as a piece of objective-sounding journalism--except for the first sentence, which serves no function other than to imply how surprising it is to you that you do not already know everything there is to know about art in the PNW.

Keep working at it. I look forward to the day when you complete an essay devoid of the first-person pronoun.
I've never heard of either one of these guys (I live in Wisconsin). Tokita reminds me a little of Charles Sheeler or Charles Demuth. Wish I could see the show.