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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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Surviving Pearl Harbor

(p.11) Prelude
Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi

ShiPu Wang

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter first describes a large canvas, titled Somebody Tore My Poster, that Kuniyoshi painted at the height of World War II in 1943. It then takes a closer look at the precarious wartime circumstances pertaining to his particular experience in order to better understand the motivating factors behind the self-conscious shift in his pictorial strategies, as manifested in Somebody and other post-Pearl Harbor imagery. As Kuniyoshi was forced to confront a host of conundrums, he would produce a series of public patriotic declarations in an attempt to counter heightened anti-Japanese feelings, to change the public's misinformed opinions of residents of Japanese descent, and to mitigate the negative impact of an identity crisis brought forth by Pearl Harbor and a world war with strong underpinnings in racial and ideological conflicts.

Keywords:   Yasuo Kuniyoshi, artists, Pearl Harbor, World War II, paintings, patriotism, anti-Japanese sentiment

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