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Yasuo Kuniyoshi



Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1893-1953) was a Japanese painter and photographer of other art works. Born in Okayama, Japan, he immigrated to the United States alone at the age of 16, he lived in Seattle for a short time before moving to Los Angeles. At the encouragement of a high school teacher, he began studying at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design in 1907. In 1910, he moved to New York and enrolled at the National Academy of Design. From 1914 to 1916 he studied at the Independent School and then, in the four years following, at the Art Students League. In 1917, he showed his work in the first exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, where he was noticed by patron Hamilton Easter Field who would support him in developing his distinct style. For the next twenty years, Kuniyoshi would continue to exhibit his work and be active in artists’ organizations. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was designated an enemy alien by the United States government. Though he was not detained, his bank account was frozen, he was prohibited from owning a camera or binoculars, and he had to follow a curfew and travel restrictions. He received great recognition for his work in the years following the war. He passed away in 1953 before he could realize his long-standing wish to become an American citizen, he submitted the application the year prior and was waiting for its approval.

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