Historic New England Program Explores “Gaman”


After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order to round up and herd all ethnic Japanese people living on the West Coast - two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens born on American soil - into remote inland concentration camps.  Allowed to bring only what they could carry, the internees sought solace in art, seeing it as a way to gaman (bear the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity). 

Historic New England’s virtual lecture by author Delphine Hirasuna draws from her book, “The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946.”  The lecture is free, although donations are encouraged, and explores the resourceful range of Japanese American creations in the midst of despair.  These creations came from laborers, fishermen, and shopkeepers, as well as renowned artists such as Isamu Noguchi, Neil Fujita, Ruth Asawa, and George Nakashima—all imprisoned in the camps.  Info at Historic New England’s website.

gaman, franklin d. roosevelt, japanese culture, isamu noguchi