Photographer Paul Kitagaki explains his portrait of Lillian Matsumoto, taken in 2006, during a viewing of his exhibition “Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” on April 20 at the Japanese American National Museum. Matsumoto, who passed away at the age of 101 in 2014, took care of more than 100 children as superintendent of Manzanar Children’s Village and adopted one of them. Karyl Matsumoto went on to become the mayor of South San Francisco. Inspired by the concept of gambatte — to triumph over adversity — Kitagaki’s photographs chronicle the strength and legacy of a generation of Japanese Americans who persevered over unimaginable hardship. His collection pairs photos taken of incarcerees during WWII with new photos of the same individuals or their descendants. The exhibition closed on April 28. The photographs are now available in a book, “Behind Barbed Wire: Searching for Japanese Americans Incarcerated During World War II,” now available at the Museum Store. To order online, go to:

MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *