My Japanese Heritage.
I am proud of my Japanese Heritage and proud of the influence this heritage has had on the United States. It wasn't always that way. Until relatively recently, Japanese were considered cruel, buck-toothed aggressors and Japanese products were thought of as shoddy copies of western goods. Nowadays, Japanese products are consumer favorites and Japanese business methods are studied and emulated.
U.S. Culture has also influenced Japan. Especially in the post World War II era. Things as diverse as music, fashion trends, and hairstyles invaded modern Japan as no conqueror had ever done. The Japanese, in turn, sent us Manga, Toyotas, Pocket Monsters and the VCR. This international cultural exchange mirrors the international cultural perspective that I hold in my heart.
So, what's my story? I was born in Okinawa, a small island southwest of the main Japanese archipelego, to a Japanese Mother and an American Father. Reiko, my Mother, grew up in Kudamatsu City, on the inland sea in southern Honshu. Kudamatsu City is not far from Hiroshima and my Mother saw the mushroom cloud that enveloped Hiroshima after the first atomic bomb was dropped. Malcolm (nicknamed Swede), my Father, was born in a small central Pennsylvania town called Renovo.
In an ironic twist, my Grandfather (on my Mom's side) and my Father both did similar jobs, on opposing sides, in the Pacific during World War II. They were in Engineer units that built facilties and airstrips to aid their respective war efforts. My Father spent most of the war in New Guinea and My Grandfather spent his war in Burma. My Grandfather was a British POW for several years after the war. My Mom's family thought he was dead until they were finally informed he had been interred, in Burma, by the British. My Grandfather always spoke fondly about the kindness of the Burmese people.
Here are some Japan related links that I hope you find interesting.
The Woodblock Print (Ukiyo-e)
Woodblock printing is practiced in many cultures but is particularly beautiful when rendered by Japanese Artisans. My favorite Ukiyo-e (pictures of the Floating World) artist is Hokusai (1760-1849). Hokusai was a master of Ukiyo-e and is most famous for his 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. The first work you see below was rendered a year before his death and reflects a darker style he utilized in his later years. The second piece you will see is his most famous work and was reflective of his artistic prime. Please enjoy these beautiful works.
Eagle in a Snowstorm.
Waves Off the Coast of Kanagawa.