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Home / Exhibits / Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii (April 26, 2022- July 24, 2022)

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii (April 26, 2022- July 24, 2022)


Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii introduces an artist whose work opens a window to historical events, issues, and ideas far greater than the individual. Takuichi Fujii (1891 - 1964) bore witness to his life in America and, most especially, to his experience during World War II. Fujii left a remarkably comprehensive visual record of this important time in American history, and offers a unique perspective on his generation. This stunning body of work sheds light on events that most Americans did not experience, but whose lessons remain salient today.


Takuichi Fujii was fifty years old when war broke out between the United States and Japan. In a climate of increasing fear and racist propaganda, he became one of 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast forced to leave their homes and live in geographically isolated incarceration camps. He and his family, together with most ethnic Japanese from Seattle, were sent first to the Puyallup temporary detention camp on the Washington State Fairgrounds, and in August 1942 were transferred to the Minidoka Relocation Center in southern Idaho.


Confronting such circumstances, Fujii began an illustrated diary that spans the years from his forced removal in May 1942 to the closing of Minidoka in October 1945. In nearly 250 ink drawings ranging from public to intimate views, the diary depicts detailed images of the incarceration camps, and the inmates’ daily routines and pastimes. Several times Fujii depicts himself in the act of drawing, a witness to the experience of confinement. He also produced over 130 watercolors that reiterate and expand upon the diary, augmenting those scenes with many new views, as well as other aesthetic and formal considerations of painting. Additionally the wartime work includes several oil paintings and sculptures, notably a carved double portrait of Fujii and his wife.


After the war Fujii moved to Chicago, which became home to a large Japanese American community under the government’s resettlement program. He continued to paint, experimenting broadly in abstraction, and toward the end of his life produced a series of boldly gestural black-and-white abstract expressionist paintings. These, and his American realist paintings of the 1930s, frame the wartime work that is his singular legacy and remains relevant today.


Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii is curated by Barbara Johns, PhD, and the traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.





Sunday, May 1st, 2022

Cable Hall, Cultural Center- 2:00 PM


Karen Jiobu will share her personal story as one of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were relocated to an internment camp in the United States during World War II. The experience shaped her outlook and resolve to help others through healthcare. Karen shared her story of being interned with OSU professor Judy Woo, which resulted in the documentary, Faces of the Past, Voices of the Present. She shares the story and images of her family and their lives before, during and after the war, alongside historic photos by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Toyo Miyatake. She continues to share her story so that these events hopefully will not happen again.   



Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Canton Palace Theater- 6:30 PM



The Stark County Library presents The Dr. Audrey Lavin Speaking of Books Author Series featuring Jamie Ford, the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, on June 21, 2022. The Speaking of Books Author Series brings acclaimed writers to Stark County who inspire lively discussion and – at times – challenging conversation while exemplifying literary excellence. Ford will speak about his book, followed by a wide-ranging question and answer session. Registration is required. More information can be found here.




Thursday, July 7th, 2022 7:00 PM

Facebook LIVE Event


Sandy Kita is the grandson of the artist, Takuichii Fujii and translated the art diary of his grandfather, Takuichii Fujii, selections out of which appear in the exhibit Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichii Fujii, curated by Barbara Johns. He is presently writing a memoir of his grandfather. Join us in this live presentation with Sandy Kita and Barbara Johns as we discuss the artist, his life, and the exhibition. The presentation will be aired live on the Canton Museum of Art Facebook page.



About the Speakers


Karen Jiobu is currently the interim executive director at Asian American Community Services (AACS) in Columbus, Ohio.  After retiring from a 30-year career as a Laboratory Director at Mount Carmel Hospital, Karen Jiobu began her volunteer work toward eliminating Hepatitis B within specific minority demographics, particularly foreign-born Asian and African communities.  Karen collaborated with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical students and the Asian American Community Services (AACS) to start the Hep B Clinic at the Asian Health Initiative Free Clinic.  She understands the need to help individuals with this population because of language barriers, which can limit the ability to receive vital screen, testing and treatment.  Jiobu was recognized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Hepatitis B Foundation for her work toward eliminating Hepatitis B and linkage to care. Karen also helped facilitate the healthy U Diabetes/Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops for the Asian communities where diabetes is very common. 


Karen also helped the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition (OAAHC) receive a CDC grant to provide Hepatitis B screenings to foreign-born Asian and African communities.  She facilitates the OSU Community Health Education medical students and the OSU Asian and Pacific American Medical Students (APAMSA) Hep B Train-the-Trainer workshops for the Community health worker in Asian American communities such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Lao, and Korean communities.  She has worked with Columbus Public Health in facilitating a hep B screening at the annual Somali Health Fair.  This started 8 years ago on acknowledging CDC’s Hepatitis Testing Day, May 19. prior to the pandemic.


Karen holds other leadership positions, including the CLIA Lab director at the OSU free clinic.  She was the lead regional coordinator of the Health through Action Community Partnerships (HTA)grant. She was the regional director of the Midwest region of the National Hepatitis B Task Force and now serves as an advisor.


Karen has received much deserved recognition for her work, including the Hep B United Champion Award in 2013; the Minority Health Community Action Leadership Award from the Ohio Commission on Minority Health in 2014; the Starfish award from the Women Coming Together event; and she was recognized as the Asian Community Leader at the Asia American Commerce Group’s 2015 Ohio Asian Awards. 


Karen’s volunteer efforts extend beyond her medical expertise.  She is a long-time volunteer at the Asian Festival, having founded the Asian Festival Dragon Boat Race event in 2010.  She has volunteered as the performance chair for 14 years, served as treasurer, and vice-chair on the Asian Festival board, and served on the Asian Festival Health Pavilion by starting Hepatitis B screening in 2006 until 2012.


Most recently, on August 6, 2021, she was asked to share her mother’s story who was born in Hiroshima.  She had shared this story in 2011 having donated a Yoshino cherry tree in her mother’s name, Yoshino Yoshimoto for the Peace Garden at Franklin Park.  Between 2018 and 2020 she facilitated the donations of additional cherry trees so that now there are over 100 cherry trees around the lower pond and the upper pond in the Peace Garden.   These were all Yoshino cherry trees like those in the Washington DC basin.  A Cherry blossom festival is being planned for 2022 by the International Voluntary organization and the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department who also added cherry trees.