SAN FRANCISCO — Delphine Hirasuna’s newly released book, “All That Remains: The Legacy of the World War II Japanese American Internment Camps,” is now available through the JACL.
The 64-page soft-cover book is a follow-on to Hirasuna’s landmark “The Art of Gaman” (Ten Speed Press/Random House), which became an art exhibition shown in 15 museums in the U.S. and Japan between 2005 and 2015, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and the University Arts Museum in Tokyo. During the exhibition tour, more than a half million people — including Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko — viewed objects made by Japanese Americans imprisoned in the camps.
“All That Remains” features objects from the exhibition, along with introductory text on why these humbly made artifacts continue to hold such emotional power over Nikkei of every generation. For families who lost virtually everything when sent into camp, these handcrafted objects are treasured because they essentially represent all that remains of those lost years.
Explaining her motive behind these books, Hirasuna says, “Like so many Sansei, I knew little to nothing about the camps when I started working on ‘The Art of Gaman.’ The more I delved into the subject, the more I developed a profound appreciation for all the Issei and Nisei endured during the war, and an admiration for the dignity, strength, and resourcefulness they displayed under terrible circumstances. This was their gift to future generations.”
Hirasuna’s parents were incarcerated in Rohwer and Jerome, the two War Relocation Authority camps in Arkansas, and her father served in Italy with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
In the introduction, she wrote, “Made largely by prisoners with no formal art training, the astonishing array of objects they made showed that the artistic spark and ability to create things of beauty reside in all of us. The very act of creating serves as a salve for the human spirit.”
“All That Remains” is a self-published book that is being issued as Volume 2 in a series of little books under the Obsessions imprint, a publishing venture that Hirasuna started with graphic designer Kit Hinrichs to explore topics of such compelling interest to them that they become a kind of obsession.
At the moment, “All That Remains” is available only from JACL San Francisco for $20 each, plus postage. To order, make checks payable to the JACL San Francisco Chapter and mail c/o Delphine Hirasuna, 245 Fifth St., Suite 202, San Francisco, CA 94103.
Hirasuna is also the author or co-author of such books as “100 American Flags,” “100 Baseball Icons,” “Long May She Wave,” “Presidio Gateways” and “TypeWise.” In addition to writing articles for major design magazines, she is a corporate editorial consultant and editor of the acclaimed online magazine @Issue: Journal of Business and Design (www.atissuejournal.com).
She and her sister Diane Hirasuna co-wrote “Flavors of Japan,” which was nominated for national Tastemakers Award. She also contributed to “The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook.” For more than 25 years she wrote a weekly column that appeared in The Rafu Shimpo and The Hokubei Mainichi in San Francisco.