Chiura Obata was a well-known Japanese-American artist and popular art teacher. Obata went to the United States in 1903, at age 17. He started out working as an illustrator and commercial decorator, and eventually had a successful career as a painter, after spending the summer in the Sierra Nevada in 1927. In 1928, Obata returned to Japan and oversaw the production of 35 colored woodblock prints of California landscapes for his \”World Landscape Series\”. Most of these were of Yosemite National Park. He was a faculty member in the Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley from 1932 to 1954, interrupted by World War II, when he spent over a year in an internment camp. He spent 11 months in internment with 120,000 other Japanese-Americans. Somehow, this did not lessen his love of America but it certainly altered the direction of his art.
After his retirement, he continued to paint and to lead group tours to Japan to see gardens and art.