In a series of colorful, captivating, and often provocative paintings, Los Angeles artist Ben Sakoguchi (b. 1938) examines how baseball, long referred to as America’s national pastime, reflects both the highs and lows of American culture. The son of a grocer and avid baseball fan, Sakoguchi juxtaposes the iconic imagery of vintage orange crate labels from the 1920s to the 1950s with whimsical, eccentric, and sometimes scathing portrayals of America’s beloved sport. [more inside]
A Japanese Holocaust rescuer, it is estimated that Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania in WWII, facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. The profoundly moving story is now on YouTube: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6. [more inside]
Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Via io9: "The first nine Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios from 1941 to 1942 are a wonder of animated retrofuturism, giving us a peek into a world that not only had a flying superstrong protector, but also filled viewers' heads with dreams of autonomous robots, comet-controlling telescopes, and machines that could shake the Earth. These films are in the public domain and have been available on the Internet Archive," but now Warner Bros. is releasing them (remastered) on YouTube. The first short, "Superman" (also known as "The Mad Scientist,") was nominated for an Academy Award. Also see: The Super Guide to the Fleischer Superman Cartoons. Find links to all nine episodes and more inside. [more inside]
Nearly seventy years ago, 10,000 Japanse Americans were forcibly relocated to Heart Mountain, just outside Cody, Wyoming; they were part of a larger group of more than 120,000 men, women, and children incarcerated in War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps due solely to their ancestry. This past weekend, about 100 survivors of the camp -- led by the delightfully named Bacon Sakatini -- returned to this remote corner of Wyoming to celebrate the grand opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center. Of the ten WRA camps, Heart Mountain had the only organized resisters movement, which was started in 1944 by seven men who formed the Fair Play Committee to protest the drafting of Japanse American men while their families remained imprisoned -- leading to the largest draft resistance trial in U.S. history.
After 30 years and 200 million sold, Sony has announced that their April shipment of cassette Walkmans was the last. [more inside]
Japanese Balloon Bombs — "In 1944, during World War II, Japan launched a top secret project, nearly two years in the making, to send thousands of "balloon bombs" (called Fu-Go Weapons) to the United States. The goal of the attack was to create panic, forest fires, and show the United States that it could be attacked from afar. Each of the more than 9,000 balloon bombs launched towards the United States, over the course of several months, carried a 15 kilogram bomb that would detach from the balloon and explode on impact with the ground." On a Wind and a Prayer. [more inside]
"My humble efforts to assist in the elucidation of the social condition of a distant and comparatively unknown race."
Nambu: WWII Japanese Handgun Website.
A bunch of very beautiful Old Japanese Maps has been put online. Java application Insight(tm) required to view and includes a nifty GIS application to overlay old maps on current maps with 3-D animated fly-throughs. State of the art in online map presentation "The digital images are even better than the originals because you can amplify them, rotate them to look at them from different angles," Mr. Zhou said. "In practical terms, this is a better way of using the material than actually coming here to see the pieces."
Striking, panoramic photo collages of the ruins of U.S. and Canadian concentration camps used to isolate Japanese-Americans during WWII. Masumi Hayashi's rich site also features documents, personal stories and Shockwave interview clips, a discussion board and data on each camp. And, yes, this post was inspired by U.S. Congressman Howard Coble's recent comment.
You've probably heard of the WWII Navajo "code talkers" who managed to baffle crack Japanese cryptanalysts and were credited with enabling US success at Iwo Jima. Civil engineer, journalist and photographer Philip Johnston was the determined mind behind the "windtalkers". The son of missionaries, Johnston grew up on a Navajo reservation and was one of only a handful of outsiders fluent in the Navajo language. A bit of his background is included this article, and you can read a complete history of his plan, view an archive of photos by Johnston, and see copies of his enlistment application letter to the Marine Corps commandant, as well as a recommendation letter from the Commanding General. (more inside...)