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Center to present Brian Y. Sato’s ‘Gokurosama’ photo exhibition

By Staff | Oct 31, 2013


KAHULUI – The Nisei Veterans Memorial Center will present Honolulu photographer Brian Y. Sato’s “Gokurosama Hawaii Nikkei Nisei” exhibition from Nov. 4 to Dec. 6 in the campus’ Education Building.

The exhibit consists of over 50 black and white photographs of Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) from across the state.

“Gokurosama” is an expression of gratitude directed to someone who has worked hard or made a sacrifice on one’s behalf.

As such, the exhibit is dedicated to the Nisei, who made immense sacrifices on behalf of their offspring and society.

“I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity of sharing this exhibition with the people of Maui at such an appropriate setting, where the Niseis are being honored,” Sato commented.

This photo of Akira “Jockey” Ishikawa is part of Brian Y. Sato’s exhibit.

He undertook this project in 2002 upon his realization that this rapidly aging generation could easily become a “faceless” group to future generations, unless photographic documentation was undertaken immediately.

Thus, the exhibition focuses upon the Nisei as individuals rather than as a group, personalizing the viewer’s experience with the photographic images accompanied by descriptive captions.

Sato’s great-grandfather immigrated from Fukushima in 1899, and his father grew up in Lahaina, graduating from Lahainaluna High School in 1941.

While Brian was raised in Wahiawa, Oahu, he spent his summers in Lahaina. It was this familiarity with the community that led to initiating this project on Maui a little over ten years ago.

“My mission was to take the exhibition to all of the major islands while the Nisei were still alive, as an expression of recognition of their generation,” he explained.

Toshio Miyamoto of Lahaina served in the 100th Infantry Battalion.

This is the first outside exhibit that the NVMC’s Education Building has presented. It will be open to the public daily from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

“In appreciation of the community’s generous support throughout the years, there will be no charge for viewing the exhibit,” said Kyle Watanabe, historical preservation and education coordinator for the NVMC.

“Brian’s exhibition helps to perpetuate the legacy of the civilian Nisei and Nisei veterans, both of whom made many sacrifices during a difficult period of Nisei history.”

Sato will also lead a presentation describing a sampling of photographs from the exhibition at the annual dinner of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center on Nov. 9 at the Maui Beach Hotel.

The exhibit has been presented at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (Honolulu), Lyman Museum (Hilo), Kauai Museum, Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles) and several cities in Japan.

Last December, Sato became the 37th recipient of the Ina Nobuo Award for best exhibition at the Nikon Salon in Tokyo.