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Citizen 13660

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  517 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Mine Okubo was one of 110,000 people of Japanese descent - nearly two-thirds of them American citizens - who were rounded up into "protective custody" shortly after Pearl Harbor. Citizen 13660, her memoir of life in relocation centers in California and Utah, was first published in 1946, then reissued by University of Washington Press in 1983 with a new Preface by the autho ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published April 1st 1983 by University of Washington Press (first published 1946)
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Travis Duke
Feb 16, 2017 Travis Duke rated it really liked it
A beautiful blend of history, graphic novel, and story telling. Citizen 13660 is the story of Mine Okubo and her life at two japanese internment camps after pearl harbor. Her fantastic drawings bring to life the daily activities and hardships they endured. The resourcefulness of the people is fascinating, watching them create everything from furniture to gardens from next to nothing is inspiring. The human spirit really shines in this book and although the idea of the camps is cruel and unjust, ...more
Abby
This graphic memoir of life for a young Nisei woman in the internment camps during WWII was published shortly after the war, and considered an important document of this shameful period in American history. Cameras & photography were not allowed in the camps so Okubo's book remains one of the few visual representations of evacuee life from the period created by an actual evacuee.

Each page is a single panel drawing with a written caption underneath. Okubo's lines are spare, graceful and very
...more
Alex Baugh
Feb 20, 2011 Alex Baugh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-2
When I was a kid, I read comic books, lots of them and all kinds – everything from Archie to Superman. So I know the power of putting together graphics and text. And I have to confess, that when I was in school, we could still find Classics Illustrated* in second hand comic stores and I may have actually used one or two of these for book reports. But today, all kinds’ graphic books are available, of considerably better quality than Classics Illustrated were and very popular among readers of all ...more
Melissa
Feb 14, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
It is of utmost importance for survivors of trauma, like the Japanese who endured the racist and violent internment during World War Two, to tell their own stories. The book's greatest success was Okubo's drawings of her life in the camps from 1942 until 1945 (she is primarily an artist), which are evocative, informative, sometimes bitter, sometimes joyous, and—this needs to be said—amazingly great at eluding the grips of censors as she was released from her camps.

Published in 1946, Citizen 136
...more
La'Tonya Rease Miles
Perhaps it's obvious to state but one doesn't read this book for the prose. The writing is, in fact, a bit terse and lacking in color and imagination. I suppose you might say the tone perfectly matches the author's experiences living in internment camps. Okubo certainly doesn't romanticize the poor and thoughtless conditions that these communities were forced into. All of her observations are stated matter of factly, much like the accompanying images. A solid, no-frills book. I feel ready to rea ...more
Deranged Pegasus
Feb 06, 2013 Deranged Pegasus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zoey Wyn
May 05, 2014 Zoey Wyn rated it liked it
"Citizen 13660" is one person’s personal account of their internment experience, named Mine Okubo. It is named after the number assigned to her family unit.

Contained within the pages are over 200 pen and ink sketches, which she drew during her time at Tanforan Assembly Center and the Topaz Relocation Center.

Accompanying her drawings are brief explanatory passages. Her narrative is very objective, and lacks the emotional trauma one would expect. Any hint of bitterness, or any other sentiment, is
...more
Rach
I'd pretty much given up on finding a copy of this one to borrow, when suddenly, the Interlibrary Loan came through again! Sure, it took 4 months, but it's better than nothing, right? I just think it's funny that this book was published by the University of Washington press, yet they had to go all the way to Spokane County to find a copy to borrow.

Anyways, the art and design on this book reminded me more of a kid's picture book than the more classically comic stylings of the others I've been rea
...more
Nanako Mizushima
Mine Okubo was an art student in Europe when WWII began. After rushing home to Berkeley, Pearl Harbor forced her and a hundred and twenty thousand other Japanese-Americans into "protective custody"- barbed wired camps where men, women and children lived in former horse stalls and hastily built barracks in remote desert locations. Okubo documented her difficult war years with these many line drawings and captions. She matter-of-factly describes the humiliations, the frustrations and even the humo ...more
Janet Aileen
Jul 01, 2012 Janet Aileen rated it it was amazing
This is a graphic journal documenting the evacuation and internment of the author, Mine Okubo in the early 1940s. It is widely recognized as an important reference book on the internment of the Japanese in the United States during World War II. The journal, which describes the day to day lives of the confined people, includes over 200 of her sketches (cameras were not allowed in the camp). This record of the struggles and indignities of bewildered and humiliated people, is told without bitternes ...more
Rekha
Graphic memoir about the internment of the author during WWII, first published in the 40s. An important representation of life for the internees because historical visual documentation from first person narrators remains rare. Okubo's story is told through one-page drawings with an accompanying caption, creating a "snapshot" feel that lends even more realism to the subject even though the drawing style is meticulously expressive and not photo-realistic. Each drawing can also be seen as a self-re ...more
Dave
I've had a real crisis of faith since the election. How do I tell my students to be honest and decent, work hard and treat people right when none of those things are rewarded? When the highest office is held by a person who is proudly mendacious, cruel, petty, lazy, incurious? Who in turn rewards people who are the same?

My teaching has taken a turn. My 7th graders are currently reading Citizen 13660 and connecting it to NSEERS, executive orders banning Muslims, and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
This graphic documentation of the "protective custody" that many Japanese Americans had to submit to was done by a young woman (Mine Okubo) who was there. The differing ways individuals try to come to terms with their new "status" in a country they thought they belonged to is truly sad...a lesson we should never forget.
Amanda
Apr 13, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-school
I read this for English. It was pretty cool because it was in graphic novel form. Although you definitely can't disregard the weight of the subject, the writing was pretty bland and overall not my favorite.
Sunny
Dec 08, 2016 Sunny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These drawings by Miné Okubo are about her time in internment camps during WWII. It's not a graphic novel in the modern sense but it was an early graphic memoir and an important and shameful part of American history. It's largely non-linear and full of humor and emotion.
Anthony Friscia
Another possible Common Book. I can't believe I hadn't ever read this account of being in the Japanese Internment camps. A little simplistic, and I couldn't get into the art, but interesting. Certainly a fast read, and with recent talk about possible Muslim internment, certainly something to talk about.
Marleen
Jun 21, 2017 Marleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okubo was an artist who used her drawing skills to visually document her World War II incarceration experience. This shows the harsh living conditions Japanese American people had to endure because they looked like the enemy. The writing style is very spare and reminds me of how many Nisei recalled their "camp" stories.
Chantal
Jun 14, 2017 Chantal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A straightforward, raw, and real account of Miné Okubo's time in the Japanese Internment Camps. This book is unique in that Miné made hundreds of sketches of daily camp life that were included on each page. It turned out to be a quick, educational, and objective read on the internment camps.
J
Jun 11, 2015 J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BEWARE of spoilers. Remember, one man's bookflap summary is another man's spoiler.

I have talked to elderly Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II. I also have read history books about this war-time period.

But the visuals in Citizen 13660 brought home the terrible homefront truths of that era in a new powerful way.

One of the strengths is that artist-author Mine Okubo regularly put herself in her drawings, to graphically depict her observer status.

Another strength is the range o
...more
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This book is written by one of the Japanese Americans who was interned and each page has some information and a drawing on it that the author did, making it pretty much physically unique among the books on the subject.


The author begins recounting information about the evacuation process, curfew, etc. He was scheduled to go to the Tanforan Assembly Center which was one of the assembly centers located at horse-racing tracks. He and his brother had all of three whole days to get everything done the
...more
Rhode
Top marks for autobiographical, documentary and historical writing.

Packs a wallop - I think in large part due to the fact that it's a graphic novel sort of in the style of 'Hyperbole and a Half'.

The author was already a recognized artist when she created the book, based on her thousands of drawings and watercolors done on site while the events were actually taking place. The details, expressions, moments, people feel very real because they truly were.

Her written story accompanying the picture
...more
Marinda
Feb 06, 2014 Marinda rated it really liked it
This is a powerful account of the Japanese internment. Okubo shares her experiences objectively and concisely. It is a treasure for those trying to decipher this period in history. One of the more tragic things I read is the following:

In Tanforan Assembly Center a movement for self government was started by the evacuees, they organized a campaign complete with slogans and rallies to elect an official Center Advisory Council. The election gave the Issei their first chance to vote along with their
...more
Aditi
Jun 26, 2014 Aditi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I read on the Japanese internment camps and was quite informative. The first thing that struck me was the fact that the narrative is relatively objective, short and succinct. From the sketch and the words, the reader can surmise the situation pretty accurately. It is as if the author seeks mainly to inform, and not to seek pity or sympathy. For this reason, reading this has been very refreshing as this is in stark contrast to much other literature on similar historical eve ...more
Frank
Jan 20, 2014 Frank rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A nice, almost blase, look at the Japanese internment camps from a "resident artist."

I think the tone stems from the basic writing of someone who is primarily an artist, but I found it interesting that if the accompanying pictures had not been of sullen, slumped over figures, but rather images of happy-go-lucky folks, much of the text could have been used to make it a piece of pro-internment propaganda.

And actually, it was an admirable account of how the majority of Japanese conducted themselve
...more
Johanna
Feb 04, 2015 Johanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
was surprised this was published in 1946 (and began as a project at Fortune magazine, like Let Us Now Praise Famous Men). Not exactly a graphic novel, not exactly an illustrated memoir. Okubo does some very subtle and funny and clever things with the juxtaposition of image and text, especially her own profile which frames and comments visually on each image, its expression often at odds with the first person "memories" in the text. is it easier to lie and elide with language than with pictures? ...more
Linda
Jul 02, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Citizen 13660 is a memoir in graphic novel format. I received a complimentary copy from the University of Washington Press. The drawings have important historical significance. Ms. Okubo's artwork shows the humiliation of losing privacy, property, and civil rights in stoic style. She documents life in Topaz, an American concentration camp for people of Japanese ancestry. I recommend visiting the Japanese American National Museum or Densho's page to learn more. A few pages in the book have large ...more
Jason "Macabre" Rivera
Synopsis: Citizen 13660 is a straightforward account of the relocation and incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans following the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1942.

My thoughts: This illustrated memoir left much to be desired. I was hoping for something a little more raw, in-your-face, gutrenching, something that would make me empathize with the evacuees. Instead, the author addresses certain salient points and glosses over the killing of Japanese men and women. However, I did like the drawin
...more
Emmanuel Aquino
This graphic novel memoir was an interesting read for an additional perspective on the Japanese Internment. The memoir follows the life of Mine Okubo from returning to the US after living in Europe, to the first signs of mistrust against the Japanese community in California through to the relocation of her family to Utah.

Overall, Okubo's drawings made it simple and digestible to understand. It's straightforward and looks at different aspects of Japanese internment living (focusing more on the d
...more
Tyler
Oct 29, 2013 Tyler rated it really liked it
Citizen 13660 is an interesting text that could coincide with a World War 2 history lesson. The book is a complete comic drawn by Mine Okubo who was a child in the internment camps put up after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The book is so perfect as it's a completely unique lens for the inside of camps America didn't even know existed until the 1980's. These aren't posed photos, they are in the moment sketches drawn from the eyes of a child. The characters sprawl high above her, tight quarters ar ...more
Debra
Mar 12, 2016 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a first hand account of living in a Japanese internment camp during WW2. Since cameras were not allowed, Okubo's drawings are an amazing insight into life at the Tanforan camp. Her drawings and comments were published right after WW2, but not widely received. Thankfully they were reprinted and continue to exist as a testament to that shameful period of American history.
Please combine this book with other firsthand accounts and books on the subject. My surprise is Miss Okubo's lack of
...more
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