Riverside Metropolitan Museum

Reading the Walls Online Exhibit - Room #2 : Case 3

Miné Okubo and Sumi Harada

<p>Citizen 13660, Miné Okubo, 1946. Courtesy of Miné Okubo Estate.</p>

<p>Miné Okubo was the first internee to publish a book about the experience of 
life while incarcerated in the internment camps.</p>
<p>Photograph, July, 1974. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Sumi Harada and Miné Okubo with their friends at the Oriental Gardens Restaurant, Arlington, California, July 1974. Front row, left to right, Sumi Harada and Miné Okubo; Bakc row, left to right, Michiko Yoshimura, Emily Oawa, and Yoshiko Hirata.</p>
<p>Painting, "People",
Miné Okubo, 1973. Riverside Metropolitan 
Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p> 

<p>This is one of several pieces of art that Miné Okubo sent to Sumi Harada.</p>
<p>Letter from Miné Okubo to Sumi Harada, Christmas 1987. Riverside Metropolitan
Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Miné Okubo shared with Sumi her personal artistic philosophy: "My convictions in art are proven. In painting I am finally with knowledge, 
mastery and understanding. I have my own identity and own form and color and I 
am able to express life and people with the reality content intact. I know the 
whats, whys and hows to arrive at something of interest in a simple, open, 
imaginative and beautiful way."</p>
<p>Ink drawing, "Cat", Miné Okubo. Riverside Metropolitan
Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>This is one of several pieces of art that Miné Okubo sent to Sumi Harada.</p>
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Miné Okubo was born on June 27, 1912 in Riverside, California. She graduated from Riverside City College and received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Berkeley. On April 24, 1942 she was evacuated to Tanforan Assembly Center at San Bruno, California and then transferred to Topaz Internment Camp in Utah. Okubo was the Arts Editor for the Topaz publication Trek. In 1946 she published Citizen 13660 which documented her experiences during internment. It was the first publication telling of life in the camps by an internee. Though Sumi Harada was three years older than Miné, the two maintained a friendship that began in high school in the 1920s and ended only with Sumi’s passing in 2000. Miné moved to New York City near the end of World War II. Over the years her letters to Sumi were always illustrated, usually with ink brush. Miné Okubo also gave Sumi some paintings.

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