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Browse > Theme > Nature as beauty

6 articles

Children of Topaz (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Companionship as salvation, Isolation, Nature as beauty
  • Widely available

A snowfall at Topaz brings children out of the barracks to engage in snowball fights and snowman building. They recall friends back home and wish their non-Japanese American friends can join them in play. The very short story by Toshio Mori —dubbed "A Sketch"—appeared in the Pacific Citizen newspaper in 1945.

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Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Nature as beauty, Role of women
  • Available

Documentary profile of Nisei artist Ruth Asawa produced and directed by Robert Snyder. Of Forms and Growth includes footage of Asawa at home, in her garden and at work, and features the artist talking about her artistic influences and techniques. In particular, she highlights the influence of artists Joseph Albers and Buckminster Fuller, and the film includes footage of Asawa and Fuller. She goes on to talk about the various media she has worked with, including ink and oil paintings, wire and paper sculptures, and sculptures made from baker's clay. The film also explores Asawa's community work, particularly in establishing art programs in schools as well as a community arts festival. Photographer Imogen Cunningham talks about photographing Asawa and her family and about Asawa's marriage to Albert Lanier. Asawa's early life—including her wartime incarceration—is covered only briefly, and her later work that is influenced by Japanese American history is not …

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O Furo (The Bath) (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Beauty of simplicity, Fulfillment, Nature as beauty
  • Available

Short story by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston about an elderly woman in an unspecified American concentration camp during the World War II. Yuki, a seventy-three year old widow, lives with her grandson, Dixon, a separate barracks room away from the rest of the family. When the falling snow reminds her of Japan, she prevails on Dixon to help her build a Japanese style furo , which they accomplish using scrap lumber and a discarded metal drum. Sitting in the tub, she reflects contentedly on her life.

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Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Nature as beauty, Role of women
  • Available

Masters of Modern Design profiles five Japanese American artists who made their mark on the postwar art world: Ruth Asawa , S. Neil Fujita , George Nakashima , Isamu Noguchi , and Gyo Obata. Using archival footage and stills along with interviews with the artists and their children, the film looks at their lives, the impact of their wartime incarceration, and their impact as artists in various media, focusing on the 1950s and 1960s. David Iwataki composed the period jazz soundtrack.

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Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Darkness and light, Expression through art, Nature as beauty
  • Widely available

Documentary film on photographer Toyo Miyatake , directed by Robert A. Nakamura for the Japanese American National Museum in 2001. Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray traces Miyatake's various identities as Little Tokyo studio photographer of portraits, weddings, and other events before and after the war; prewar art photographer; and surreptitious chronicler of incarceration during World War II. The film is an expansion of Nakamura's earlier documentary on Miyatake, The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo Miyatake, 1895–1979 . Among its awards are a CINE Gold Eagle and the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at the Florida Film Festival; it was also an official selection of the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

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Lost LA: Descanso Gardens (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Chaos and order, Nature as beauty, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Special episode of the Lost LA public television series that tells the story of Descanso Gardens, a botanical garden in La Cañada Flintridge, California, that is run by Los Angeles County. The wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans plays a key role in the history of the garden.

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