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Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in ... for Documentary Studies at Duke University) Hardcover – August 13, 2012


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Acclaimed photographer Sally Mann sorted through boxes of family papers and old pictures to find "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land ... racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder." Learn more | See similar books

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Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in ... for Documentary Studies at Duke University) + Photographs of Manzanar + Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The strength of this title is the photography: Manbo documents a people who rose above persecution and injustice to carry on traditions and form a community in a barren landscape. Anyone interested in documentary photography and American social and cultural history will appreciate this book. Highly recommended.--Library Journal starred review

A rare insider's view of daily life in [Japanese-American internment] camps.--Durham Herald Sun

Stunning.--Huffington Post

The narratives and scholarly essays combine with the photos to forge a powerful statement. As humans we see the world in color, so the Kodachrome images convey the circumstances, as we would experience them if we were there. This level of reality is something that existing black and white camp photos cannot duplicate.--American Studies Journal

These images offer readers glimpses of the internment that are in vivid color and, unlike government- sanctioned photos, candid and earnest. . . .Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.--Choice

The collection of pictures [Manbo] took there. . . represent a singular view of internment, all executed in color.--Los Angeles Times

Injustice, in Kodachrome.--The New York Times

Showcas[es] 65 color images from [Bill Manbo's] rare collection. . . . Each of the essays helps the reader look at the photographs from a different perspective.--Carolina Law

Muller recognized this power of color photography to revive the past and has created a book that presents the internee experience through a modern lens. Just as Manbo's slides were miraculously preserved (in a box in his son's garage), Muller's compilation will help preserve our collective memory of the internment experience.--Hyphen: Asian America Unabridged

Poignant images of pickup baseball, judo matches, parades, and other daily life in a Wyoming internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.--Military History Quarterly

These are not pictures of horrors of confinement but rather photos that show how the Japanese made lives for themselves.--Denver Post

These portraits provide a stark reminder that the families of Heart Mountain were prisoners of war.--NPR Online

This is a testament to the incredible power of photography. Even one frame can change the tide of public opinion because photography has the power to add layers to our understanding of how events transpired and how people were affected.--Washington Post

The photographs give a haunting account of what life was like for Japanese descents.--Daily Mail Online

Sheds new light on life in Wyoming's Heart Mountain internment camp. . . . Disarming. . . . [Manbo's] images show movement and smiles caught in a moment. The people do not perform because of his camera but in spite of it.--Casper Star-Tribune

This volume is at once a wonderful and rare addition . . . to the existing images of the Nikkei experience while incarcerated during World War II.--Nichi Bei Weekly

[A] provocative and noteworthy collection. . . . [with] unquestionable cultural and historical significance.--Publishers Weekly

Review

I was imprisoned at Heart Mountain when I was twelve, so my memories of camp life are still vivid. Colors of Confinement brings back these memories in living color and gives them new life. It was almost scary to be able to relive the experience while reading this book.--Norman Mineta|Eric Muller's Colors of Confinement skillfully presents a multifaceted montage, integrating the insights of an historian, an expert on photography, and a former prisoner of Heart Mountain. The contributors demonstrate that Kodachrome images of Japanese American incarceration can offer a deeper understanding of the WRA camps, even as they raise troubling questions about memory, representation, and meaning.--Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, University of California, Los Angeles|The color photographs of Bill Manbo are at once beautiful, poignant, and stinging with irony. Young girls in vibrantly colorful kimonos dancing in front of black tarpaper barracks, a teenager in full Boy Scout uniform lifting the stars and stripes up high in a U.S. concentration camp--these are pictures of resilience and fortitude from a dark chapter of American history.--George Takei
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Product Details

  • Series: Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; First Edition edition (August 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807835730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807835739
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frederic on August 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received my copy from Amazon today, so I haven't had a chance to read all of the essays yet. From what I've seen thus far, though, I think the text is going to do justice to the images. And that's saying something. The book is high-quality coated paper throughout, with excellent printing and binding as one expects from the UNC Press. The images are beautifully presented, nearly full-page in size in most cases.

This is a collection of vivid full-color Kodachrome images taken by a young Japanese-American man who was interned at the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, camp during World War II. He captured everyday life in the camp, and its environs, and these color images bring it to life amazingly. I've read many books and seen many images - photographic and drawn/painted - by internees, as well as accounts by anthropologists in some of the camps, but these are real eye-openers.

As those who lived and experienced the events of the Second World War are leaving us, it is especially important to preserve and present to new audiences the documents of those experiences. This book is an outstanding contribution to that effort.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I teach "A Separate Peace" to my sophomore English students, I make every effort to immerse them into the culture of World War II on the home front. We watch "Casabalanca," Walt Disney's "Der Fuehrer's Face," the Andrews Sisters singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First" routine. I show clips of Ken Burn's "The War" that talk about rationing, war bond drives, and Pearl Harbor.

Perhaps the most poignant scene is Daniel Inouye's first-hand account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This, of course, leads to a discussion of the Japanese-American internment camps.

Detractors would say that this book sugar coats the experiences of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans who were placed in these relocation centers for much of the war. Granted, the photos do little to show the hardship and isolation of life in the camps. Even living conditions--cramped quarters, communal latrines--are not the intent of this book.

What it does show is the spirit and determination of the incarcerated to provide a sense of normalcy to their daily lives. With more than 70 photos--all but a handful in color and most of them full-page--Bill Manbo's images are a testament to the ability to retain humanity under inhumane conditions. Manbo and his family were sent to the camp at Heart Mountain in Wyoming in 1942 where these photos were taken.

Sure, there are pictures of guard towers (p. 45), the starkness of the barracks and the landscape (p. 26), and a moving image of the photographer's son clutching a barbed-wire fence at the edge of the camp.

However, most of the scenes are much more cheerful: dancers in traditional attire, parades, ice skating, residents wrestling in the sumo ring, family outings...and lots of family photos.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on August 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It is amazing how individual character and culture carry on in difficult, political and oppressive circumstances. The humanity and hope in the photographs make this book a palatable introduction to endlessly deeper thinking about this history. Having lived in Japan two years and Wyoming three years, I felt it was interesting to see images from Japan layered onto images from Wyoming, as if my memories and impressions of the two places were set together, yet not merged or developed. Japan has such a lush landscape compared to the stark lines of Wyoming, which makes the cultural similarities pop out at you in the photos. The viewer is invited towards political lessons; but I think there is also room for simple, unconnected hope that stems from the timelessness of human nature and landscape.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jan Morrill on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My mother was an internee (Tule Lake, Topaz), therefore throughout my life I've heard stories and have seen black and white photographs of the internment camps. Therefore, I took for granted that all people knew and understood this time in our history. It wasn't until I began research for my book that I realized how few know much more than bits and pieces they learned in history classes (if even that) about the internment camps.

I was thrilled to first hear about this book on social media, then, when a librarian friend informed me it had arrived at the library, I immediately checked it out. After picking it up yesterday and seeing the beautiful, poignant photographs and beginning to read the essays, I have ordered the book to keep a copy for myself and my children.

Colors of Confinement is one of the most revealing portraits of life in camp that I have seen to date, the closest representation of "gaman."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Yonemitsu on January 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story was one of a first-person account of experiences in the relocation camps of the Japanese-Americans during the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. It was documented by beautiful "Kodachrome" images from one of the camp's internees.

Also facinating, is the fact (little known) that Kodachrome was invented in 1936, and made possible the preservation of the images in the book.

This publication is a must-read for any Nesei, or familty member of a Nesei.
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Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II (Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in ... for Documentary Studies at Duke University)
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