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A color sumi-e painting of a Japanese American prison camp during World War II. The image depicts two single-story camp buildings and barren camp grounds. There is a lone tree, a fence, and mountains in the background on the right side of the image. The sky, barracks, and path are blue, and brown has been used in the doors of the buildings, the fence, the telephone poles, and the ground. Painted by Koho Yamamoto at Topaz Japanese American incarceration camp.
Born in California as Masako Yamamoto in 1922, Koho and her family were incarcerated at the Japanese American incarceration camp in Topaz, Utah during World War II. Koho became the star pupil of Chiura Obata (1885-1975), a master sumi-e artist and calligrapher who was also a Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. Koho received her name, meaning “Red Harbor,” from Chiura whose name translates to “Thousand Harbors,” as a symbol of spiritual succession to teach the art of Japanese brush painting. After the war, Koho moved to New York City and made a successful career exhibiting and lecturing as an artist. She founded and was the sole instructor of the Koho School of Sumi-e until it closed in 2010.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
circa 1940s
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
paint (overall material)
overall: 13 3/4 in x 19 in; 34.925 cm x 48.26 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
gift of Koho Yamamoto
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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