J-A Nisei Portraits at Nikon Salon

BRIAN Y. SATO Nisei ExhibitionMy friend Brian Y. Sato, a sansei Japanese-American from Hawai’i, is having his first exhibition in Japan of his Japanese-American Nisei portraits.

Photographing the dying generation of Nisei has been Brian’s pet project since 2002 when I first met him and was very impressed by his project that included portraits of Nisei I personally knew. His portraits are very compelling and sometimes stark representations of this historical and storied generation.

The Nisei are the second-generation Japanese-Americans born to the Issei or first-generation Japanese who immigrated to Hawai’i. This generation are now elderly from their 70s on up. It’s like catch them while you still can. They all have their unique stories. Some have been told and recorded, while many others have died with them. Brian has encountered many nisei who refused to open up and be photographed. But he insisted that he did not want their stories to die with them.

Upon skillful persuasion, Brian has amassed around 200 nisei portraits from all the major Hawaiian islands (including Molokai and Lanai). He has already exhibited them in Hawai’i and the US mainland, but never in Japan until now. I kept urging him to show these portraits in Japan and he is finally doing it.

Portraits from his Nisei of Hawai’i collection will be exhibited at the Nikon Salon in Tokyo and Osaka as follows. He tells me that he’ll be at the gallery most of the time, but you could call and ask to make sure.

Title: GOKURŌSAMA: Second-Generation Japanese-Americans in Hawaii
Place: Shinjuku Nikon Salon (Map)
Shinjuku Station Exit A17, Shinjuku L Tower 28th floor
Phone: 03-3344-0565
Date/Hours: Oct 18 – Oct 31, 2011
10:30 to 18:30 (Oct. 31: 10:30 to 15:00)
Open every day.


Place: Osaka Nikon Salon (Map)
Osaka Station Exit A4, Hilton Plaza West Office Tower 13th floor
Phone: 06-6348-9698
Date/Hours: Nov. 3-16, 2011
10:30 to 18:30 (Oct. 31: 10:30 to 15:00)
Open every day.

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Philbert Ono

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