Wooden carved pin in the shape of a bird, painted in yellow, brown, and orange, perched on a small branch attached with wire. Pin glued to flat back.
From 1942 to 1946, more that 110,000 Japanese-Americans living in California were interned at camps in the western United States including at Granada, Colorado during WWII. This tragic episode of American and Colorado history is represented in the core exhibition, "Colorado Stories" at the History Colorado museum.
Jean Higashi and her sister Gail Tamaribuchi were both at Amache as children. Their family had been displaced along with many from the San Francisco/Oakland area and they spent two years at Amache and experienced life in an internment camp at the ages of 2 and 6(?) with Jeanne being the elder. Jeanne remembers the camp but Gail was too young to remember internment. When the family was released they moved to the north area of Denver where predominately Jewish families resided and as they expressed, felt accepted and among friends by the Jewish community of Denver who had great empathy for the plight of Japanese-Americans after internment. Japanese-Americans continued to face prejudice and discrimination well after WWII.
Jeanne Higashi and Gail Tamaribuchi and other family members visited the History Colorado in October 2014 and I accompanied them to view the Amache exhibit in Colorado Stories. Jeanne was very pleased with the representation of an Amache barracks in the exhibit at History Colorado and especially liked the display of the trunks and exclaimed that we had her jacks and ball on display! "We played hours and hours of jacks as there was very little to do while we were there."
Jeanne Higashi and Gail Tamurabuchi each made separate donations to the museum, but neither are willing to part with their original photographs at this time.The photographs are images of them with their parents at Amache or individual photographs of the girls. The photographs are in the process of being scanned, and the museum is requesting from the donors that the scanned images may be used for education purposes of the museum -- on Argus and possibly within the exhibition "Colorado Stories."
Along with the photographs and written documentation about the Amache internment camp from the sisters' return reunion visit to Amache in 1998, an extraordinary group of handmade jewelry made at Amache was donated by Jeanne Higashi. The jewelry is referred to as the "Art of Gaman." Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin which means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity." The term Gaman is generally understood to indicate perseverance, patience, tolerance, or self-denial. Handcrafts and artworks made from found materials at internment camps are a testimony to the perseverance and grace with which those who were interned endured their hardships.
The jewelry are in the form of pins (some with fasteners and some without) and are made of painted wood, shells, and pipe cleaners in shapes of birds, flowers, and whimsical figures as well as painted landscape scenery on small flat wooden substrates. There is one industrially made metal pin from their reunion visit to Amache in 1998. Of the handmade items, similar wooden painted bird pins were shown in the traveling Smithsonian exhibition titled,"The Art of Gaman: Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946," and shown from March 5, 2010 -- June 30, 2011. The bird pins appears to be possibly the work of Himeko Fukuhara and/or Kazako Matsumoto both interned at Amache as shown in the exhibition. Another particularly poignant object given by Jeanne Higashi is a white cotton handkerchief with a printed design of a blue star with rays that reads, "Blue Star Mothers, Amache, CO," to recognize women interned at Amache who had sons serving in the US military during WWII.
(See R. 210.2014 for Gail Tamaribuchi donation)