Hidden Kitchens Story #25 - Weenie Royale
We discovered many amazing works of art and photography during our research for this radio story. One can find many illustrations, watercolors, paintings and photographs that were done by internees during their incarceration. We also discovered the paintings of Roger Shimomura who's new work is currently on exhibition at the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle,Washington. Follow the links to see more of Rogers' work.
Roger Shimomura - American Infamy #2, 2006
In a group of 30 paintings, Roger Shimomura's exhibition, "Minidoka on My Mind," will explore the artist's family's internment duringWorld War II, including some works suggesting his personal memories. The show's title refers to Camp Minidoka in Hunt, Idaho where he and his family were detained from the spring of 1942 until the summer of 1944. - Courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery
"First Impression of Manzanar (June 1942)" - UCLA Special Collections
Kango Takamura depicted his surroundings in drawings and watercolors. He also worked as a camp sign-maker at Santa Fe and as curator for a small museum at Manzanar. "This was my first impression of Manzanar. Oh, it's really so hot, you see, and the wind blows. There's no shade at all. It's miserable, really. But one year after, it's quite a change. A year after they built the camp and put water there, the green grows up. And mentally everyone is better. That's one year after." — Kango Takamura, Beyond Words: Images from America's Concentration Camps
Watercolor drawings of Topaz and Tanforan by Yoshiko Uchida, July 7, 1942 / Courtesy Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley
Writer Yoshkio Uchida was born in 1921, in Alameda, California. Uchida wrote many books for young people, among them The Dancing Kettle and Other Japanese Folk Tales (1949) and The Invisible Thread: A Memoir (1991). Like her character in "The Bracelet," Yoshiko Uchida was taken to an internment camp during World War II. On the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, her family was split apart—her father was taken away and interned. Yoshiko, her mother, and her brother were taken to a camp in Topaz, Utah, where they waited out the war. There she witnessed her grandfather’s death; a guard who saw him looking for arrowheads assumed he was trying to escape and shot him. Uchida recounts her internment experience in Journey to Topaz (1971). While in the internment camp she also passed time by reflecting about her life in her journals and painting watercolor sketches. — "Through my books I hope to give young Asian Americans a sense of their past and to reinforce their self-esteem and self-knowledge. At the same time, I want to disper the stereotypic image still held by many non-Asians about the Japanese and write about them as real people. I hope to convey the strength of spirit and the sense of hope and purpose I have observed in many first-generation Japanese. Beyond that, I write to celebrate our common humanity and the basic elements of humanity that are in all our strivings." Yoshiko Uchida, 1921-1992
  — In Case You Were Wondering.. The music in our story  

"K'in Sventa Ch'ul Me'tik Kwadulupe" by Kronos Quartet from Nuevo

"Elizabeth Chooses a Career" by Maki Namekawa & Dennis Russell Davies from Les Enfants Terrible, composed by Philip Glass, available on the album Music 4 Hands

"Instrumental" by Shoukichi Kina & Ry Cooder from Asia Classics Peppermint Tea House

"Ichikotsu-cho" by Asian American Jazz Orchestra from Big Bands Behind Barbed Wire

"Variations on Japanese Children's Songs" by Mayumi Hama from Music for Marimba and Percussion

  — Letters from Listener What's Being Said  

Dear Kitchen Sisters,

This morning, I was lucky to catch the tail end of your piece on Japanese internment camps. As moving as all your pieces.

I have been a fan of your work for many years. First heard one when I was living in San Diego. It was about 8 years ago. I still remember where I was sitting. I don't remember the subject, but the announcer said, "That was a piece by the Kitchen Sisters." I was just amazed at the intimacy, power and grace of the work.

I have to get back to work. Just wanted to thank you for what you do. And for raising my spirits, as I pulled into my little prison of a day job.

Best to you,
Katherine Williamson


I had a parking lot moment today in hearing the piece on the cooking in the internment camps. I work at NPR East, but also am a grad student with Univ of Virginia's Curry School of Education. My final paper this past semester was, "The Education of Japanese American Children during World War II." THe class was The Immigrant Experience in American Education." I will send the link to your piece to my prof...she often mentioned how food was one of a defining cultural experience for many immigrants. I wish I'd had the recipes you give today back on Dec 3rd..that's when I gave my oral presentation on the camps and education of the kids. It would have been great to also feed the class!

Thanks again!
Kathy Rushlow

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