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First Emigrants

Sugimoto, Henry [ bio ]

First Emigrants
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painting
H: 63.5 in, W: 51 in
oil
canvas

New York, N.Y., ca. 1960

(92.97.112)

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

Description

Stretched and unframed.

Image of Wakamatsu Colony focuses on the historical landmark, the history of the tea and silk colony and the grave of Okei on Gold Hill. The bottom half of the image is dominated by a large grey-white stone with a brown plaque marking the site of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony as a California registered historical landmark. A silhouette of a bear and two stars top the plaque above lines of text. Flanked by smaller stones, the landmark sits on a dirt path next to a Japanese wooden gate at left. In the foreground three small trees stand on a bed of green grass. A rooftop peeks through a stand of blue trees behind stone at midground, separating the landmark from two other scenes above. In upper right corner, a blue cloud-like image of a ship called "China" on the ocean with Mt. Fuji in the distance overlaps another larger cloud-like scene of workers planting tea and clearing land under the direction of a bearded Caucasian man smoking a pipe, Edward Snell. The workers are dressed in dark blue Japanese clothing and straw hats while Snell wears a similar top and tan shorts. Two horses hitched to an open wagon and a house next to rolling hills are visible in the background. On the left, a ghostly female rises from a grave inscribed in Japanese, "Okei no Haka," on a golden hill with blue trees. The apparition reaches out toward a white on blue outline of Japan in upper left corner

Inscription
Signed in medium, bottom left corner: Henry Sugimoto, Gold Hill-Okei-No-Haka (Grave) 1981 Wakamatsu Colony (1869) Written on back, top center: Japanese Immigration History in America Series, First Emigrants

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management & Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

 

 

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