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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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Becoming American?

(p.138) Epilogue
Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi

ShiPu Wang

University of Hawai'i Press

This epilogue first describes the retrospective of Kuniyoshi's work at the Whitney Museum in 1948, in particular its ulterior propagandistic aims. It then discusses how Japanese collectors, scholars, and cultural institutions “reclaimed” Kuniyoshi, starting with the posthumous exhibition of his work in Tokyo in March and April of 1954. As the Japanese earnestly sought to recuperate Kuniyoshi's Japanese identity, so was his status downgraded in the American canon. This posthumous identity crisis is all the more ironic and poignant, considering Kuniyoshi's determinedly assimilationist proclamations, particularly in response to the crises brought forth by Pearl Harbor and his lifelong negotiations through issues of race, assimilation, and national and ideological allegiance.

Keywords:   Yasuo Kuniyoshi, artists, American art, retrospectives

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