The volunteers and members of JAMsj will deeply miss Jack Matsuoka, who passed away on August 26, 2013. In addition to Jack's professional achievements as a historian and award-winning nationally syndicated cartoonist, he was a larger-than-life-figure in San Jose Japantown. His artwork and publications documented the experiences of the Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II and touched many hearts around the world. This spring, JAMsj was honored to open "Jack's Story," a special exhibit including some of Jack's most popular work. JAMsj is privileged to continue to feature this exhibit through the end of 2013, and extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Jack Matsuoka.
Jack's Show: His Life and Sketches
JAMsj is honored to present a new exhibit, entitled "Jack's Show: His Life and Sketches,"showcasing the work of Japanese American cartoonist Jack Matsuoka. One of the few Nisei cartoonists to be awarded membership to the prestigious National Cartoonist Association, Jack is a recognizable and well-known figure in San Jose's Japantown. His drawings, from illustrations of local sports and community figures to his acclaimed depiction of the Japanese American incarceration experience as published in his book, Poston Camp II, Block 211, are equally recognizable. This special exhibition features artwork spanning his impressive 70-year career.
Born in Watsonville, California, in 1925, Jack's talent and interest in drawing were evident from an early age. His visual storytelling blossomed during his family's incarceration where, as a teen, he digested the experience of living in Poston by illustrating camp life. His drawings were sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes humorous, but always honest and heartfelt.
After serving in the MIS (for which he later received a Congressional Gold Medal), Jack made a career out of his unique talent and was a regular cartoonist for the Hokubei Mainichi newspaper. His drawings, which ranged from sketches of his beloved local sports teams to political cartoons illustrating the issues of the day, were also featured in numerous Bay Area publications, including the San Francisco Examiner, San Mateo Times, and San Jose Mercury News.
To honor the life and art of this Bay Area Nisei cartoonist, JAMsj has selected more than 60 pieces of art from Jack's personal collection for the show. In addition to original drawings and sketches, photographs and other artifacts from his life will be on display. These personal items serve as a portal into the history of the man behind these drawings.
Agricultural Exhibit - Yesterday's Farmer: Planting an American Dream
In the early 1900s, Japanese immigrant families utilized specialized farming techniques to produce high yields of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Learn about these techniques by viewing the farming equipment that they employed.
Pioneers of San Jose Japantown
Starting in 1890, Issei (first generation) came to the Santa Clara Valley in search of work. In 1900, Japanese Americans established Japantown, a place for them to meet their social, cultural and economic needs in a society hostile to their presence.
World War II: Assembly Centers and Internment Camps Exhibit
During WWII some 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed and incarcerated. They were placed into temporary "Assembly Centers" then desolate camps in the interior of the United States.
100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT)
This military unit became the most decorated unit in United States military history. The unit was composed of Hawaiian Japanese Americans as well as volunteers and draftees from the internment camps.
World War II: Military Intelligence Service (MIS)
Second generation Japanese American men and women served in the MIS during World War II and used their language skills in the Pacific theater as translators and POW interrogators.
Post World War II: Resettlement
Personal recollections of Japanese Americans returning to the Santa Clara Valley after their release from the camps.
Sports in the Japanese American Community
Sports have always played an integral role in the Japanese American community. Sumo, kendo, judo, Asahi baseball and Zebras basketball were all very popular pre-war sports.