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Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi$
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ShiPu Wang

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834180

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834180.001.0001

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Picturing an Identity Crisis

Picturing an Identity Crisis

(p.70) Chapter Three Picturing an Identity Crisis
Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi

ShiPu Wang

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines Kuniyoshi's artistic production during the war years, a large part of which was creating war posters aimed at inspiring Americans to join the fight for freedom and democracy. As the work of a loyal and exemplar enemy alien meant to lend credibility to the U.S. propagation of democracy, Kuniyoshi's designs were curiously ambiguous. While the main objective of this crucial project was to show Japanese atrocities as rendered by an émigréapanese who abhorred Japan's militarism, his drawings show a more nuanced approach to propaganda imagery that distinguished him from other propagandists. Kuniyoshi chose a pictorial strategy that appealed to universal themes and issues, such as humanity in peril and victimhood under militarism and oppression.

Keywords:   Yasuo Kuniyoshi, U.S. propaganda, patriotism, American art, war posters, propaganda imagery

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