Japanese American National Museum
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Going to America

Sugimoto, Henry [ bio ]

Going to America
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H: 32 in, W: 25.25 in, D: .75 in

New York, N.Y., 1980


Gift of Madeleine Sugimoto and Naomi Tagawa, Japanese American National Museum


Stretched and framed.

A young man leaves Japan for the United States. Focal point is a young man dressed in knee-length dark yukata with white design, blue obi and yellow geta standing with right arm raised and hands clenched. He gazes off to the right of viewer. Labeled "Beikoku yuki" (Going to America) in the upper left corner, a white bundle tied with rope sits at his feet. In the lower left, a man in a grey yukata and geta raises his hand in farewell while a woman in brown covers her face with a white cloth. In the upper left background Wakayama Castle resides at the top of a green hill with a river, Ki no Kawa, at its base. Midground right, a large bridge stands as a large wave passes under it, a figure is visible in water. Above it, four lines of a Japanese poem on reddish background.

Signed in medium, bottom left corner: H. Sugimoto; poem written in Japanese on upper right of painting, translated: A man with ambition leaves his village; / Unless he accomplishes his mission, / He will not return. / The place where he buries his ashes / Does not have to be his homeland. / For man, there are green mountains everywhere. / (Gessho Shaku) Written on back: "Going to America"/32 x 25 1/2

Some sixty years after leaving Japan, Sugimoto completed a series of paintings meant to document and interpret the history of Japanese immigrants in the United States. This work, no doubt inspired by his own experience, portrays a young man leaving Japan for the United States.

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