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Citizen 13660

(Classics of Asian American Literature)

by
3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,029 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Mine Okubo was one of more than a hundred thousand people of Japanese descent - nearly two-thirds of whom were American citizens - who were forced into "protective custody" shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Citizen 13660, Okubo's illustrated memoir of life in relocation centers in California and Utah, illuminates this experience with poignant drawings and witty, c ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published February 28th 2014 by University of Washington Press (first published 1946)
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Dave Schaafsma
Citizen 13360 is an early example of what might be seen as a graphic novel based on drawings the author did of her time incarcerated in two concentration camps as part of the shamefully racist Japanese internment or “protective custody” that took place on the west coast of the US during WWII. As we study that war, as many are doing now, Americans are generally characterized as liberators, as part of the Allied efforts that defeated fascist and racist regimes, principally Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Y ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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. ...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.
...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 exp
...more
Travis Duke
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Deranged Pegasus
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
La'Tonya Rease Miles
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: common-readers
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
Ivana
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't find the prose or the art especially striking, though I might if I read it again. Where I found the most value in this was in reading about the monotony of the camp, of the day-to-day acceptance of a set of awful conditions, and just making the best of them because you have no other choice. It's heartbreaking, and this novel has reminded me of a part of history that's (unfortunately) easily forgotten, and prompted me to read more about it. ...more
Alex  Baugh
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Janet
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sachi Argabright
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even though I have Japanese ancestry, my family was not personally effected by the WWII era Japanese internment camps since my mother immigrated here in the 1980’s. This graphic memoir was an eye opening and heartbreaking illustration of the hardships experienced in those camps. This is a very timely book that I think every American should read regardless of their race. Let’s not let history repeat itself.
Nicole aka FromReading2Dreaming
This book was okay. It wasn't horrible, it wasn't the best thing I have ever read, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it. The only reason I didn't like this account of the internment camps during WWII, was because of how objective it was. The author barely, if at all, dove into what she was feeling during all of this. That was my only gripe with this book. Other than that it shed some light on that horrible time in our history, which I liked. ...more
Marleen
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Lisa
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Okubos book is a compelling combination of images and text that tells her story of incarceration. I was moved by her inclusion of herself in each image. She broke down the distinction between the viewer and the viewed. It’s also a powerful juxtaposition with official WRA photography to have this emic production of art.
Sunny
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
PvOberstein
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miné Okubo’s 1946 work Citizen 13660 has the unique distinction of being both one of the early American graphic novels and being a powerful first-hand testimony to the Japanese imprisonments during World War II in the United States. Okubo – a thirty-year-old Californian with an MFA from Berkeley and a career with the Works Progress Administration – was imprisoned from 1942 to 1944 at the Tanforan Racetrack and then the Topaz War Relocation Center. An artist by trade and education, Okubo used her ...more
Zoey Wyn
"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
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Dorie
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Citizen 13660🍒🍒🍒🍒
By Mine Okubo
Reprinted 1945/ 2018
University of Washington Press

February 19, the day the Executive Order 9066, issued by FDR, has been named Remembrance Day by the Japanese Americans, to honor the memory of relatives interned to camps. Executive Order 9066 ordered the mass evacuation from the West Coast and internment of all people of Japanese descent.

"In the history of the United States this was the first mass evacuation of its kind in which civilians were moved simply because o
...more
Glen U
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Citizen 13660" is a short book written by artist Mine Okubo who spent 4 years in the relocation camps during WW2. Every page has a simple drawing of her life in the camps with a short caption explaining the illustration. Very objective with minimal emotion (perhaps because of the censorship that was utilized during this period), it tells a sad story in the tumultuous times during the 1940's in America. Definitely not a comprehensive look, nor an emotive piece, it still filled in some answers I ...more
Brittany Kinard
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Citizen 13660, Mine Okubo documents her experience in Japanese internment camps. Told objectively, she illustrates how horrid and dehumanizing the living conditions were for Japanese citizens imprisoned in these camps. While her writing does not reflect how she personally felt about her experiences, the pictures tell a different story. When she writes about experiences like little access to drinkable water or being forced out of her home, she draws herself with a grimace or sorrowful eyes. Ok ...more
Frank McGirk
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
Natalie Alicea
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book details the time that author Mine Okubo spent in Japanese interment camps as a young woman. She illustrates her time by including herself as a frame of reference and detailing daily life and special occasions during her time at two different camps. Okubo's discussion of the life she witnessed and lived at these camps is certainly appropriate for a wide audience of readers. A background knowledge and understanding of the occurrences of causes of the Japanese interment camps and a partic ...more
Johanna
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Mark Williams
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm interested in Japanese Americans during the 1940s. Citizen 13660 is an autobiography of a young Japanese American artist who was moved to a relocation camp at the beginning of World War II. She provides a sequence of beautiful mural type drawings to illustrate her book. The drawings add great detail to camp life. Gentle, compliant and humorous as they made this draining transition, I often wonder how their young men could be such fierce fighters for the U.S. In Europe during the same period. ...more
Maggie
Mine Okubo recorded her experience in US Government concentration camps for Japanese and Japanese Americans during WWII, first at the San Francisco racetrack (not kidding) and then, the "permanent" residence at Topaz in Utah. The unique thing about her account is that it is told entirely in pictures, another graphic novel-memoir. Mine's book, taken from over 10,000 drawings, was first published in 1946 and has been in print ever since. She tells a story which could be heavy-handed, in a very sub ...more
Tyler
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it
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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